A treehouse grows in Eastport

Posted on September 8, 2009


As I headed toward the Wilkinson Homestead on Sunday, Daugherty Johnson was driving by in his black convertible.  You remember Daugherty, sculptor of wolves and builder of castles in Eastport.

“I’ll be right back,” he said.  “Come on over and see the treehouse!” OK, you already heard about the mysterious flag at the Wilkinson house yesterday, so we can skip that part and go right up the street to the Johnsons’.

I trotted into the back yard, where I stopped and stared.  I was in a children’s paradise.  I am not even going to show you all of the wonders because I am saving them for a day when the grandchildren are there, riding on the riding toys, listening to stories, climbing trees, swinging, reading books in the tipi, coming back from a swim in Torch Lake and spreading their towels out to dry.  

I will show you the tipi, though, because it’s part ingenious scrounging (made from a discarded sail), part fairytale castle, and all irresistible. The glittery ribbons fluttering from the lodge poles delighted me. Daugherty said he likes to build things that will make children look up, up, up. “That way they appreciate the wonder of it all.” 


I promised you a treehouse.  Looky here:

Tree house

It spirals around the tree, climbing up, up, up, all of it lashed to the branches with ropes. There are lots of braces, but just one sturdy beam nailed to the trunk. 

Tree house3

Daugherty climbed to the top level and peered over to have his picture taken. “You can say I ascended to high office—the Honorary Mayor of Eastport.” I told him I thought he was the real Wizard of Eastport.  Rooting deep.  Branching out.

Daugherty Johnson ascends to high office

As I left we passed the front porch, which is just as full of child-sized play spaces as the back yard.  Daugherty looked at it and shook his head. “It looks a little cluttered,” he said. “But there isn’t anything there that isn’t necessary!”  I knew just what he meant.  And I threw back my head and laughed, and looked up, up, up and appreciated the wonder of it all.