The Tree House Story

The treehouse and tree
Geodesic dome of the treehouse
Four of the Treehouse Five stand in the treehouse looking down at the camera
treehouse and tree
Geodesic dome on the treehouse
Treehouse deck
The treehouse and rooftop deck
Stove in the treehouse
The treehouse in the sky
Treehouse deck
The treehouse from below
Map to the treehouse from satellite image

In October 2023, two of the Tree House Five – Dan Flanagan and Tucker Swan – joined members of the Innovation Hub team on a nostalgic walk through Ralph Myrhe Golf Course and recalling stand-out memories of their time at Middlebury spent in a tree house, creating a legend.

A letter from Dean Wonnacott notifying the Treehouse Five of a fire that had destroyed the treehouse.

"It was a landmark and will now become a legend."

A year after their graduation, the Tree House Five received this letter from Dean Erica Wonnacott about a detrimental fire that had brought an end to their beloved tree house. However, as Wonnacott highlights, the tree house is a legend to be remembered in Middlebury history for decades to come.

A History of the Tree House as told by Dan Flanagan


Last fall five freshmen decided they had come to Vermont for fresh air – [two] were from Jersey – that the confinement of Hepburn and Stewart Halls was too much like home, and that what their Goethean souls required was a forest eyrie.

Middlebury Campus

Fall 1971

A scan of the Tree House Diary. It has the Middlebury Seal in the middle of the notebook. A portion of the cover is ripped off and Tree House Diary is scrawled across the cover.

The Tree House Diary and Timeline

The students constructing the tree house kept track of expenses and work in a battered Middlebury notebook. In addition to accounting for material expenses, these notes give us some insights into the builders’ and visitors’ daily thoughts.

Click here for an in depth look at the diary with some selected transcribed quotes.