Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Pyramid of Memphis, Tennessee

Yesterday I cracked that I was going to "Memphis, which is not in Egypt."  

This morning I discovered that Memphis, Tennessee has a pyramid, which is (allegedly) the 10th tallest in the world.  


The Memphis Pyramid was built as the Pyramid Arena, a 20,142-seat facility  located located on the banks of the Mississippi River in downtown Memphis.  

Built in 1991, it's 321-feet tall (about 32 stories) and has base sides of 591-feet.

In 2004, the Pyramid Arena went broke, and in 2008, the city and Bass Pro Shops reached an agreement to re-develop the structure. 
Bass Pro got a 55-year lease, and the city invested $30 million to help with the rebuild, which was paid for by sales tax revenue from the surrounding area.
Bass Pro opened a 535,000-square foot store in May of 2015, and the facility received one million visitors in its first 10 weeks of operation.
In addition to a retail store, the Bass Pro pyramid is home to an archery range, a shooting range, a hotel, a laser arcade, a bowling alley, 600,000 gallons of water features, and a restaurant, as well as the tallest freestanding elevator in America. The brochure advertises the place as a "Must-see 'bucket list adventure'".
Truthfully, I found the place pretty sad.
As everywhere else, most of the stuff sold is made in China, unneeded, or fantasy-based. The store presents a kind of southern and western cultural goulash, with taxidermied Elk and Grizzly mounts placed within eyesight of a crossbow display, and roto-molded kayaks and duck boats vying for attention amid a sea of camouflage coats, cowboy boots, and fleece vests. Two live alligators are in a marsh exhibit, while concrete-lined ponds hold massive numbers of large catfish and bass. Shot-crete trees are festooned with fake moss. The whole thing is more than slightly ridiculous -- a cross between Walmart and Disney World, a Target store and Outdoor Life magazine.
I cannot help but think that all this stuff is a barrier between people and nature, true field craft and honest experience.
Bass Pro Shop seems closer to a parody of America's hunting and fishing tradition than the real thing. 
This is southern and western culture as imagined by a Branson, Missouri dinner theater operator. 
It's a long way from the real thing.

1 comment:

seeker said...

At least its not sitting empty and rotting away.

Debi and the JackRat Pack