Steampunk Tree House – Milton, Delaware - Atlas Obscura

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Steampunk Tree House

What began as an art installation is now the private drinkhaüs for a brewery's employees. 


The large installation piece known as the “Steampunk Tree House” began life as an art project for the popular urban punk-modern primitive-corporate sponsorship-desert freakout that is Burning Man, but after traveling around for a bit, the massive metal arbor abode finally found a permanent home outside of a Delaware brewery.

Created in 2007 by artist Sean Orlando and the Five Ton Crane Collective, the angular treehouse is more than your basic playhouse. The installation actually consists of a 40-foot tree made of welded girders and plates with craggy branches reaching up over the hut resting atop its trunk. The house itself is a smallish room made of wood and steel accented by clockwork components such as windows that open via contracting iris mechanisms. The entire affair creates the feeling that the weird art house was cobbled together by some Victorian scavenger.

After making waves at Burning Man, the treehouse went on a bit of walkabout with no one place to call home. It was dismantled and reinstalled at a similar festival before being taken apart once again and rebuilt as part of the Coachella music festival in 2008. After its appearance there the project was in danger of being put away in storage for good until the creators of the treehouse connected with the Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, Delaware.

The two groups found that they shared a similar worldview and love of giant metal trees, and in 2009 the treehouse finally took root in front of the brewery facility where it remains to this day. Unfortunately, the treehouse is not open to the public, unless you pay for a brewery tour. Brewery workers are said to be allowed inside.  

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