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Today Tomorrow and Forever - In Loving Memory Of Elvis Presley

Graceland - The Home Made Fit For a King!

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Elvis in front of Graceland

FROM AGED 21 TIL 42, GRACELAND WAS ELVIS' HOME!

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Elvis at the gates of Graceland

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GRACELAND

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Elvis in car by the front of Graceland

Well all know Graceland was Elvis’ beloved home from age 21 til age 42. On this page I will be telling you the history of Graceland and much more!

Graceland is a large white columned mansion and 13.8 acre estate that was home to Elvis and his family in Memphis. It’s located at 3734 Elvis Presley Boulevard in the vast Whitehaven community. Its 12 miles from downtown and less then 4 miles north of the Mississippi border.

 

HISTORY:

Graceland was originally owned by S.E Toos, publisher of the Memphis newspaper, Memphis Daily Appeal. The grounds were named after his daughter, Grace, who would come to inherit the farm. Soon after, the portion of the land designated as Graceland today was given to a niece, Ruth Moore. In 1939, along with her husband, Dr. Thomas Moore, the present American colonial style mansion was built.

 

Elvis purchased Graceland in early 1957 for $100,000. He had to leave an home in East Memphis which is located at 1034 Audubon Drive. He moved because of privacy and security reasons. He also had upset neighbors who weren’t happy with fans being outside the house every day.

 

On April 10th 1957, Elvis moved into Graceland with his Father, Vernon and Mother, Gladys. The family was so happy with their new home.

 

In August of 1958, Gladys fell ill and on August 9th, she was taken to Methodist Hospital and was diagnosed with Acute Hepatitis. Elvis was in the Army but got home on the 12th, he spend time with is Mother. Sadly on August 14th, at 3.15am, Gladys passed away from a heart attack. Her body was bought back to Graceland on the same day; she was lying in state in the family home. She was laid to rest on August 15th, down the road from Graceland. She was only 46.

 

After Elvis came home from the Army, his Father Vernon remarried to a woman called Dee Stanley, in 1960, and they lived at Graceland for a short while. Wife to be Priscilla Beaulieu also lived at Graceland for 5 years before she and Elvis got married. When they married on May 1st, 1967 in Las Vegas, she lived there for another 5 years before she and Elvis separated in 1972. Lisa Marie Presley also called Graceland home while growing up.

 

On August 16th 1977, Elvis died in the bathroom at Graceland of a heart attack. Years of junk food and prescription drug abuse took its toll. Elvis was gone at age 42. On August 17, Elvis came home for the last time and his body was lying in state like his Mother’s did years ago. On August 18th, Elvis left Graceland for the last ever time.

 

On October 2nd, 1979, Elvis’ body along with his Mother is moved back to Graceland. On June 26th, 1979, Vernon passes away from a heart attack. Vernon was 77 years old. Vernon’s Mother, Minnie May, died on May 8th, 1980. She was 89. Elvis always said she would out live them all.

 

Elvis with his Father, Mother and Grandmother are all buried at Graceland. They are in the Meditation Gardens.

 

Architecture and Modifications:

The mansion is constructed of tan limestone and has 23 rooms, with 8 bedrooms and bathrooms. The entrance way contains several Corinthians columns with two large lions perched on both sides of the portico.

 

After Elvis purchased Graceland, he carried out extensive modifications to suit his needs and tastes. He built a fieldstone wall around the grounds, a wrought iron music themed gate, a swimming pool, a racquetball court and the famous Jungle Room. The Jungle Room features an indoor waterfall, with other Elvis like modifications. In February and October 1976, the Jungle Room was turned into a recording studio. Elvis recorded the bulk of his final two albums, From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee and Moody Blues. They were his last known recordings in Graceland and Jungle Room.

 

One of Elvis’ most better known modifications was the addition of the Meditation Gardens, where Elvis, his parents Gladys and Vernon and Grandmother are buried. A small stone memorializes Elvis’ twin brother Jesse Garon, who died at birth. The Meditation Gardens was opened to the public in 1979.

 

Graceland grew from 10,266 square feet (953.7m) when originally bought by Elvis to 17, 552 square feet (1,630.6m) today. Managers of the complex now have announced that a major plans for the grounds. New buildings are coming soon which will have a new visitor’s centre, a 500 room convention hotel and high tech museum displays. The current visitors centre, shops, the 120 room Heartbreak Hotel and museums will be torn down and replaced by the new facilities.

 

It will take 3 years to complete.

 

Elvis In Graceland:

Graceland was Elvis’ palace. He had a place with family and friends to relax, or where every whim and desire was on hand. By his swimming pool was a Juke box, it was full of his favorite records and during parties or barbecues, it would be played non stop. It’s also well known Elvis would spend hours in his bedroom. He would read, watching TV, sleep or even watch family and friends on the close circuit TV inside and outside Graceland!

 

Graceland was also Lisa Marie Presley’s first official home and residence after her birth on February 1, 1968. It was her childhood home even though her main state of residence was California when she lived with her Mother after she divorced Elvis, when Lisa was in school. Every Christmas, Lisa Marie and her family spend their holidays in Graceland. She can be seen at her Father’s old home often. When Lisa Marie turned 25, she inherited the estate. In 2005, she sold 85% of it.

 

People who have been to Graceland say some of the rooms testify to the brilliance and quirkiness of Elvis, they think it’s wonderful. The TV room, in the basement is where he would watch three TV’s at once, if he got bored with any of them, he would turn that TV off!

 

When Elvis was on tour, hotel rooms would be remodeled in advance of him arriving, so as to make the same configuration of space as he had when he was at home. His furniture would arrive and he could relax after the shows, the surroundings were completely familiar and relaxing to him.

 

The Meditation Gardens, designed and built by architect Bernard Grenadier, had been noted as a preferred place of Elvis in the home, it was where Elvis would often go to when he needed time to think on any problems in his life.

 

Billy Smith, Elvis’ cousin, has spoken of the many time Elvis would come into his bedroom at night when he was with his wife Jo. Billy said ‘We were all together in bed talking for hours. We would talk about everything in life. If Elvis had a bad dream, he would come into our room and into our bed. He would fall asleep with us. It helped him’

 

Everyone knows there was some discord with Elvis and his Stepmother, Dee. When Vernon settled down with Dee after Gladys had passed on. Dee herself – Only when Elvis was away – acted like the mistress of Graceland. She would move furniture around and replace the curtains that Gladys picked and loved so much. This was too much for Elvis, who still loved deeply loved his deceased Mother. One afternoon, a van turned up at Graceland and soon all of Dee’s clothes, household goods and even pets were taken out and placed on the van. Mean while Vernon, Dee and her three little sons got into a car and drove nearby house on the Hermitage until they finally settled into a house on Dolan Drive, which was alongside Elvis’ estate.

 

Famous Visits To Graceland:

In 1957, Elvis invited Richard Williams and Buzz Cason to visit the Whitehaven neighborhood of Memphis, where Graceland is located to have a look at the mansion. Elvis and the two men proceeded to clown around on the front porch of Graceland, striking our best rock and roll poses and taking photos of the day too. We also had a look into the home and saw the red walls and purple colors, in the front room. Elvis picked them out and was proud of them.

 

In the late 50’s, Elvis was found of claiming that the US government had mooted a visit to Graceland by Nikita Khrushchev to see how in America a fellow can start out with nothing and you know, can make good.

 

On June 30th, 2006, when US President George W. Bush hosted Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, for a tour of the mansion. It became the only residence on American soil other then the Embassy, the White House or any of the other Presidential retreats to have hosted a joint visit by a sitting US President and a head a of foreign Government. Koizumi who served as Prime Minister of Japan from 2001 and 2006 is an avid Elvis fan and even shares Presley’s January 8th birthday!

 

In 2009, Suzi Quatro FINALLY went to Graceland after not taking up Elvis’ personal offer in 1974. While on tour in Memphis, she got a phone call while relaxing after a concert. She picked the phone and Elvis told her ‘I like your version of All Shook Up, do you want to come to Graceland?’ A friend said she was scared. There she was, relaxing after a concert and Elvis was on the phone, asking her to come on over. She had no idea what to do or say to him. So she turned him down. So in the show about her trip, Suzi looks into her obsession with Elvis and his influence on her.

She also goes to his birthplace, meets some of his childhood friends and looks around Sun Records, where the star recorded some of his earliest hits. She said ‘To finally be going to Graceland after all these years. Wow, what a journey. It was very, very emotional. I was in tears many times as I traced the footsteps of Elvis Presley who was, and is the reason I do what I do.

 

Tours Of Graceland:

After Elvis’ untimely death in 1977, Vernon Presley served as executor of his son’s estate. When Vernon died in 1979, he chose Priscilla to serve as the estate executor for Elvis’ only child, Lisa Marie, who was only 11 years old at the time. At that time Graceland itself cost $500, 000 a year in upkeep and expense had dwindled Elvis’ and Priscilla’s daughter Lisa Marie inheritance to only $ 1 million. Taxes were due on Graceland, these and only expenses also due came to over $500,000.

 

Faced with having to sell Graceland, Priscilla examined other famous homes/museums and hired a CEO, Jack Soden to turn her ex Husband’s home into a money maker.

 

Graceland was opened to the public on June 7, 1982. Priscilla gamble paid off, after only a month of the doors opening, the estate made back all the money it had invested. Priscilla became the Chairman and President of Elvis Presley Enterprises, or EPE, stating she would do this until Lisa Marie reached the age of 21. The Enterprises fortunes soared and eventually the trust grew to be worth over $100 million!

 

While Graceland was open to tours in 1982, the last person to live in the house was Elvis’ Aunt Delta, on Elvis’ invitation after her husband died. Fans spoke of seeing her walking around but she never spoke to the fans. She died in 1993.

 

The annual procession through the estate and past Elvis’ grave is held on the anniversary of his death. The largest gathering assembled on the 25th anniversary in 2002. One estimate was of 40,000 people in attendance, despite the heavy rain!

 

The 20th anniversary in 1997 had the biggest crowd in Memphis for Elvis Week. At this time several hundred media groups from around the world were present and the event gained its greatest media publicity as an estimated 50,000 fans came to the City.

 

The Graceland grounds include a museum containing many of Elvis’ artifacts like his Vegas jumpsuits, awards, gold records, his planes and his car collection! The radio station called Sirius Satellite Radio installed as all Elvis Presley channel on the grounds. It also can be heard all over North America. It runs out from Graceland 24/7!

 

Two new attractions have been added, Private Presley and the 68 Special exhibits, these can be found across the street on the Plaza. The Fieldstone wall that Elvis installed is still there, and has a lot of graffiti from fans, who simply all it ‘The Wall’

 

Tours of Graceland are available though no flash photography or video cameras are allowed inside. There is an audio tour of the Graceland mansion.

 

The upper floor is not open to the visitors out of love and respect to Elvis and the Presley family. Also it’s partially to avoid any improper focus on the bathroom which was the site of his untimely death. The upper floor also ha Elvis’s bedroom. It’s all been left untouched since August 16th 1977.

 

Visitors park across the street, boarding a shuttle bus to start of the tour. Attendants issue headphones and tourists are individually snapped by a souvenir photographer in front of a painted wall of the famous music gates. Tour buses drive across Elvis Presley Blvd, thought the music gates and down the long drive way. The bus stops in front of the stone lions that stand watch at the wide red brick front steps. It was behind these lions, that fans came to see his body lie in state on August 17th, 1977.

 

The house is much bigger then expected, photos being the main moment by the front door. A tour guide stands by the front door and gives a brief history of Graceland. It starts with the woman, Grace, who the mansion was named after and then concluding with the fact Elvis bought Graceland when he was only 22. Finally the door opens to allow entry. As fans walk into the mansion, over head is the room, that forever, will never been seen by them. It’s the bathroom.

 

When you enter Graceland, directly in front of you is the white staircase, filled with reflective mirrors. To the right is the Living Room, which is the first room on the tour. There is guard rails up stopping entry to the Living Room and the only part of the Music Room that can be seen. It’s hidden behind a doorway framed by vivid large peacocks set in stained glass. In this doorway Elvis’ coffin was placed for his funeral at Graceland.

 

Visible in the Music Room is a black baby grand piano and an old 50’s style TV. The Living Room contains a 15 foot long white sofa against a wall, which overlooks Graceland’s front yard. To the left is a white fireplace. The painting that was Elvis’ last Christmas gift from his Dad, Vernon, still hangs in the room. Also displayed in the room are photos of his parents and of Lisa Marie. These rooms are followed with a walk past the grand staircase, to Elvis’ parent’s bedroom.

 

In Elvis’ parents bedroom, white is the predominant colour. Velvet looking dark purple bedspread drapes onto the floor at the foot of the Queen Size bed. The walls, dressers, bed and carpet are bright white; it’s also protected by a guard rail. To the right is the closet, sealed with clear glass showing 5 dressed which Gladys wore. To the left is the pink bathroom, but it’s almost obscured from sight due to the velvet rope banner.

 

Next, the tour takes you into the Dining Room and the Kitchen (which was not open to the public until 1995, as Elvis’ Aunt Delta used it till her death in that year) and it continues through the basement, where Elvis’ Media Room is and there the three TV sets are. There is also a bar and a Billiards Room. Then the tour goes into the famous Jungle Room and then it leads into the backyard. You can go past Lisa’s childhood swing set and can you can see a small white building, which was Vernon’s office. Through the office there is a small room containing a scale model of the home Elvis was born in Tupelo, Mississippi.

 

Elvis’ shooting range is housed in what used to be an old smokehouse. Down the sloping lawn, past the horses grazing behind the neat white fences, visitors enter the Trophy Room. Originally this space was a sidewalk behind the house that Elvis had enclosed to store his many items of appreciation. Just inside is Elvis’ famous Gold Lame suit from his early years. In the Trophy Room many walls displays records, movie posters, old time memorabilia of lipstick from fans and their shoes. There is even an 1950’s Elvis doll. Among items there is the 3 Grammy’s Elvis won for Gospel, Priscilla’s wedding dress, Elvis’ wedding tuxedo, Lisa Marie’s toy chest and baby clothes and there is also the amazing famous hall of Elvis Gold records and award. The Trophy Room then winds down the hall through display of his 68 come back, featuring his leather suit, some personal copies of his film scripts, costumes he wore in the films and some of his trademark jumpsuits. Also in this room all the awards and distinctions Elvis had gotten over the years and also there are copies of the checks Elvis wrote to charities.

 

Once outside again, the tour moves past his still fully working stable of horses. Elvis Racquetball court is the next stop. It now holds a display of Elvis sequined jumpsuits. The entrance is reminiscent of an old country club, expertly built and expensively furnished in dark leather on the numerous bar chairs and sofas. There is a fully working bar on the right and to the left is a sunken sitting area with the ever present stereo system which is running throughout Graceland. There is also a dark brown upright piano which Elvis played his last two songs before he passed away, which were Blue Eyes crying in the Rain and Unchained Melody.

 

The sitting area has a floor to ceiling shatter proof window designed to watch the many Racquetball games that took place there when Elvis was alive. It was in the early hours of the morning of his passing did Elvis, his girlfriend Ginger Alden, Cousin Billy Smith and his wife Jo played a game on the court, after a while and after Elvis hit his leg with the bat, they went into the sitting area and Elvis sung the last two songs I just spoke of. Afterwards, Elvis washed his hair and went to bed. Today the court has been turned into display room of Elvis’ stage costumes. Many more are across the street in the ‘Sincerely Elvis’ area. Many old vinyl records are hanging in the two story court, including numerous posthumous awards. Big screen TV’s are scattered thought-out Graceland. In the Racquetball Court, Elvis’ movies and concerts of him in Las Vegas are played continually.

 

Next is the pool. He had it built when he bought Graceland. Just past the pool is the Meditation Garden where Elvis, his Mother Gladys, Father Vernon and Grandmother Minnie Mae Hood Presley lie buried. There is also a small headstone for Jesse Garon, who was stillborn.

 

In a separate building across the street houses a car collection which has Elvis’ Pink Cadillac and not too far away, his two planes are on show. Lisa Marie – A Convair 880 – and Hound Dog II – A Lockheed Jetstar.

 

NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARK

 

Graceland was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on November 7, 1991 and then designated a National Historic Landmark on March 27, 2006.

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Elvis' grave

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The Presley's family graves

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Elvis playing piano in Graceland

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Elvis riding motorbike and looking might fine!

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COPYRIGHT INFORMATION.
This website is run and maintained by Rebecca Stone. I have borrowed pictures, infomation and other materials from different websites. I will give them the credit where it's due. The biography is all mine and if you wanna use it, please ask for my permission. Otherwise enjoy your stay here with me in the wonderful world of Elvis Aaron Presley.
Copyright: Rebecca Stone 2005

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