Abandoned visits the Great American Pyramid of Memphis, Tennessee

Originally published at: Abandoned visits the Great American Pyramid of Memphis, Tennessee | Boing Boing


Totally insane, but we are in the USA, so it’s just another day folks.



…as Ra intended


Is it still listing into the Mississippi?

I still love the idea of it, and loved seeing it driving over the bridge into Memphis.


I visited when in that part of the US for the first time, and I must say it is an INCREDIBLE experience. You know when, in Parks & Recreation, Ron Swanson visits a Whole Foods and says he enjoys it in the same way he likes going to the zoo? Well, for a European liberal like me, strolling through that retail environment was quite the introduction to a culture rather different to my own.


I have stayed at the hotel inside the pyramid / Bass Pro. It is a very nice hotel with the best bathtub I’ve ever experienced in all my life.

But also, it’s extremely weird to look out your hotel window and into a Bass Pro, in the middle of the night. And, to make it even more bizarre, it’s not quiet in the night, because there are ducks down in the ponds and streams. In a Bass Pro, in a pyramid, in Memphis, I was awoken by ducks.

I don’t know if it’s worth the numerous dollars it takes to sleep there, but it’s definitely an unparalleled all-American experience.


We could store grain in it. I mean, that’s something that you do with pyraminds, right?


(edited for typo)


Amway should consider buying it and making it their new corporate HQ.


Or wine.

1 Like

In 1982 I lived in Germany. One night I went with some German pals to see Dawn Of the Dead, which takes place in a shopping mall.

Half way through one of my friends leaned over and asked “Where are they?”

I said “What do you mean?”

He said “They seem to be in a giant department store full of smaller stores.”

I said “Yep. That’s pretty much what it is.”


We drive past this is edifice on a lot of our road trips.
Heading east on U.S. Highway 40, cross the Mississippi, and bam–there’s the shiny pyramid and Memphis.

I usually try to have the Bangles’ Walk Like an Egyptian or Talking Heads’ Cities going on the car stereo…which has this as part of its lyrics:

Did I forget to mention, to mention Memphis?
Home of Elvis and the ancient Greeks
Do I smell? I smell home cooking
It’s only the river, it’s only the river.


It’s a Memphis thing.


That place looks so cool! But, when I pay for my own lodging, it’s in significantly cheaper places. I did not pay to stay at the pyramid, that was a work thing. Maybe someday I’ll win the lottery and go stay at all the fancy schmancy places.


Yeah, it’s really interesting to consider that the Shopping Mall was so unique to North America at the time.
Taking the shopping district of a small town and completly enclosing it, inherently bizarre.

1 Like

The local Bass Pro is a large sprawling place. I’m trying to imagine one that dwarfs it.

1 Like

Another example of how sportsball team owners bilk municipalities again and again. Used to go to Memphis in the early 90s and often wondered about this place.

“…despite the accidental flooding in the basement.”

As Twain said,

One who knows the Mississippi will promptly aver—not aloud but to himself—that ten thousand River Commissions, with the mines of the world at their back, cannot tame that lawless stream, cannot curb it or confine it, cannot say to it, ‘Go here,’ or ‘Go there,’ and make it obey; cannot save a shore which it has sentenced; cannot bar its path with an obstruction which it will not tear down, dance over, and laugh at.


I wonder what kind of deal the city has the current occupants, and how much of that $130M investment they’ll actually make back. (I wouldn’t be surprised if this ended up costing the city a lot more money in the future, too.) Makes sense that it started as a sports arena, as cities are super-dumb about throwing away crazy amounts of money on things like that, even in the knowledge that they’re throwing it away.


Unless your town gets very very cold for much/most of the year. It’s kind of a no brainer in Canada and large swaths of the US. :grinning:


Yah, maybe it’s just that we never hear about the success stories (I hope that’s the case) but it sure seems like cities get conned into terrible deals with sports teams every time.

I hope it’s more like the big federal bailouts that happened in 2008. Studies have shown that the US government actually made money on things like TARP in the end. It just took a decade to sort out all the downstream effects.


Interesting. Construction was happening at about the same time as the pyramid in Pyongyang. I guess by comparison this one was eventually somewhat successful.

The Luxor casino pyramid was ALSO under construction in the early 90’s. Quite a boom time for modern pyramids.