Louisville Magazine

JAN 2017

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

Issue link: https://loumag.epubxp.com/i/767403

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Page 53 of 96

LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 12.16 51 inches long) and scaled the structure to be 51 feet high, 85 feet wide and 510 feet long — 3.3 million board feet of timber. As Patrick Marsh, VP of design and attractions, told me, "It's the largest timber-frame structure in the U.S., and possibly in the world." Like a grain silo laid flat on its side, the Ark encompassed the horizon. Made of a blond-hued wood, it was smooth and rounded, the sides sloping to sharp points at the ends. A door raised about 30 feet off the ground was impressed into the structure's façade — the door, through which the animals were meant to file. ("And the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof," God told Noah, "with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.") When I visited the Ark again in September, a ramp that sloped from the door had been added. "Four guys," the man from the bus said. "Something, ain't it?" e blacktop path curved past a wooden fence. Slipping around it, I joined the line. Most seemed to be white men between 30 and 70. I scanned their shirts: "Freedom Baptist Church," "Cross Country Evangelism," "Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey." e man in front of me had on jeans and suspenders and a flannel shirt checkered blue and white, and a red "Make America Great Again" hat. e hull of the Ark rested atop a forest of concrete pillars, between which the crowds flowed, massing into the labyrinth of turnstiles that spread out with an expansiveness that reminded me of Customs queues on Ellis Island. Fans beat the muggy air. e floor was cement, but painted beige and scoured to resemble packed earth. Stacked along the margins were crates that I guessed represented the luggage that Noah and his family loaded for the voyage — maps and twine-wrapped bundles and axes and mallets and hammers in an open box big as a coffin. Speakers hooked to the ceiling dripped out an olive-oil muzak Two signs hung on the walls. A serpent with a pulpy eye and red scales like bloody metal coiled around one sign, tongue flashing near the words: "If I can convince you that the Flood was not real, then I can convince you that heaven and hell were not real." of those snake-charming, belly-dancing chords that always seem to writhe during aerial tracking shots of Near Eastern bazaars in Hollywood blockbusters. Getting inside took about 45 minutes — we wound through the maze and up a ramp to a landing with a green screen, where a teenager with a camera slung over his neck was saying, "Pictures? Pic- tures? Any pictures today, folks?" We moved past him, herding inside the Ark. As the walls and ceiling closed around us, I felt like I was entering a mind — a tortured mind, because the foyer twisted down a hall that led to a cave-like space of plaster walls and fluorescent panels, flickering to mimic lightning, while a soundtrack roared out thunder and blasts of wind, as if tsuna-

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