Big Digs, Now and Then

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There's a lot going on at the riverfront, but not at the Pyramid. Bass Pro's arrival is, at best, two years away. But at Beale Street Landing on Tom Lee Park, construction was going full speed ahead Thursday.

Whatever you may think of the wisdom of those projects or of the Pyramid itself, there is some excitement in the anticipation of what's to come.

The Pyramid groundbreaking was called The Big Dig and featured a giant lighted shovel dropping to the ground from a crane. Thanks to Jimmy Ogle of Memphis Talks and Tours for the pictures below. I remember the night well. There was a huge crowd and my young children and I nearly got crushed against a fence because someone allowed a bandstand to be set up smack in the middle of Front Street.

Ogle also took the pictures of the observation deck

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of the Pyramid, a place everyone in Memphis has seen but almost no one has ever been. Its future is uncertain. If it stays, the city will have to spring for either an indoor elevator or outdoor inclinator and the cost will go up accordingly. If it goes, I wonder how Bass Pro will explain to those 4 million annual visitors why they can't get up to those windows and see the view.

Finally, on a sort of related note, is there another city and arena in America that hosted more basketball fans than Memphis and FedEx Forum in the last week? Two Grizzlies games and two Tigers games in six nights, attended by more than 50,000 people. Not bad. If you missed it, here is my colleague Chris Herrington's blog on that subject.

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