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Whatever happened to the tree house that used to be on Airlie Road?

Amy Hotz

I couldn’t find anyone who remembers a tree house on Airlie Road. I believe the reader might be referring to rumors of musicians playing in stands in the trees at Airlie Gardens, 300 Airlie Road, Wilmington [Map this].

And that, really, is only a half truth. According Susan Taylor Block, a local historian who wrote “Airlie: The Garden of Wilmington,” musicians did play in the oak trees owned by the Jones family. But it was at their property now called Landfall and not Airlie Gardens, which they also owned.

Just imagine, huge rambling oaks with long limbs, some touching the ground, some extending straight out toward areas of sunlight. Then, imagine wooden stands built into these trees with musicians, probably wearing tuxedos, perched up there playing all the latest ragtime tunes for partygoers in 1920s and 1930s garb.

It must’ve been a sight.

Related links:

What is Airlie Gardens?

Besides the Largest Living Christmas Tree, what are the largest live oaks in the area?

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10 Responses to “ Whatever happened to the tree house that used to be on Airlie Road?”

  1. On January 4, 2011 at 6:54 pm Mary Lou Mintz wrote:

    I remember the tree house as my college roommate and her boyfriend lived in it – approx. 1975-76 or so.

  2. On January 4, 2011 at 8:35 pm Bert Blake wrote:

    There was a tree house on Airlie Road built by Hugh Johnson in the mid 70’s. It was near or behind what was called the pink house. It was across the road from Airlie gardens.

  3. On January 5, 2011 at 10:11 am Keith Nuttle wrote:

    There use to be a rather large tree house on Airlie road in the yard of the house just north of the bend where the road goes north along the waterway. I believe it burned in the late 1990’s.

    While visible from Airlie road it may have been in the yard of one of the house that was on one of the side streets in the area of the sound.

  4. On January 5, 2011 at 12:06 pm Susan wrote:

    Not surprised you’d weigh in on that one, Bert!

    Here’s where Hugh has gotten to now, since he left for bigger waves elsewhere ….

  5. On January 5, 2011 at 12:39 pm Amy Hotz wrote:

    I’m glad someone remembered it. Thanks for your posts! I lived on Rogersville Road for 24 years (until 2001) and traveled Airlie Road frequently butdon’t have even a foggy recollection of any tree house there.
    Anyone have any photos?

  6. On January 5, 2011 at 1:24 pm Frankie Raymer wrote:

    “Whatever happened to the tree house that used to be on Airlie Road?” Actually, there were two (2) tree houses.
    1) The Edgewater Estate (approximately 65 acres) on Wrightsville Sound was owned by the Wright family (daughter: Helen Wright) for many years until the late 1960s or 70s. The tree house was a large black wrought iron platform with a spiraling stairway access located near the main house. Edgewater, which faced the Waterway, had its main entrance from Airlie Road. Edgewater was later sold to John C. Drewry and subsequently resold with the acreage subdivided and the white Victorian mansion house remained.
    2) There was a second tree house barely visible from Airlie Road during the mid 70’s. It was north of Airlie Gardens and north-west of the Bean Estate. This had a Hippy appearance indicative of the times and could be accessed from a dirt quasi-roadway, which ran through this wooded area.

    Frankie Raymer

  7. On January 5, 2011 at 4:18 pm Jeff Reid wrote:

    Indeed there was a tree house on Airlie Rd. in which a guy name Hugh Johnson built and sometime lived in during the ‘70s and ‘80s.
    He owned the property which had two houses and one of which burned down. He built a kiln and other small houses on the property.
    Over the years many people lived in the tree house. Hugh was back and forth from Hawaii and rumor had it that he eventually traded the property for some in Hawaii. At the present time, the property on Airlie is for sale.

    I was there several times it was very elaborate.

  8. On January 12, 2011 at 10:24 am Cathy wrote:

    The tree house on Airlie was used in the movie Date with An Angel that was in the 1980’s by Dino. I have been in the tree house and it was a cool place. I do remember the pottery kilns being there. It was a little hard getting in and out as you had to use wood boards nailed to the tree for access. I have often wondered what happed to the tree house.

  9. On February 5, 2011 at 12:32 pm Ann Walker wrote:

    There did used to be a tree house on Airlie Gardens Rd. I can’t remember the exact location, but there was an actual “tree house”, and if my memory serves me correctly, someone used to live in it.

  10. On August 7, 2011 at 3:55 pm Stanley Newton wrote:

    There was a treehouse on Airlie Rd in 1979-81 time frame. I knew an older guy who was a painter and he rode a bike around Wrightsville Bch lived up there. I never noticed it until a friend pionted it out one day.

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