Elvis Presley, the “King of Rock ‘n Roll,” purchased Graceland in March 1957 when he was just 22 years old. The mansion, built upon a huge estate in Memphis, Tennessee, was the music legend’s home until his passing in 1977.
Graceland has been open to the general public since June 7, 1982, and is a feast for the senses owing to its luscious, extravagant interior.
The King allegedly purchased the property for US$102,500 with proceeds from his first hit single, “Heartbreak Hotel.” As recorded by the National Register of Historic Places, the colonial revival-style mansion was designed by architects Furbringer and Ehrman, and its interior, thanks to the eccentricities of its most famous inhabitant, has become the stuff of legend.
According to Biography.com, Graceland is one of the most visited homes in the United States, second only to the White House.
The 23-room mansion is preserved as a time capsule with its lavish decor and masses of paraphernalia from 1950s America. The white, bright living room features peacock-themed stained glass; an adjoining room houses a baby grand piano.
A futuristic TV room decked out in blue and yellow with a mirror ceiling meets a trophy room—a favorite among visitors—boasting numerous Presley family photos, Elvis’s collection of police badges, and even his former wife Priscilla’s wedding gown. The King married Priscilla Beaulieu in 1967 and the couple remained wed for six years.
“He never threw away anything,” Graceland Guest House’s night manager Anna Hamilton observed, according to The Detroit News.
Thought by many to have been Elvis’s pride and joy, his “den,” now referred to as the “Jungle Room,” still features an indoor flagstone waterfall and Polynesian-style wooden furniture. Elvis’s former wife, Priscilla, famously told Larry King in 2007 that the waterfall had been “a great idea,” except for the fact that “it flooded everything.”
“It never worked,” Priscilla explained. “The whole room would get flooded.”
According to Biography.com, Elvis’s eccentricities even extended into the kitchen. The rock ‘n roll legend allegedly insisted that three of his favorite foods be stocked in the Graceland kitchens at all times: cans of sauerkraut, fresh banana pudding, and Doublemint gum.
Also on the grounds at Graceland are a kidney-shaped pool, Elvis’s iconic pink Cadillac, and his two private airplanes named Lisa Marie—after the singer’s daughter—and Hound Dog II.
Graceland is not only a pilgrimage destination for fans of the legendary music icon; it is also Elvis’s official resting place.
The King was originally buried in Forest Hill Cemetery in Memphis, Tennessee. However, after criminal attempts were made to exhume Elvis’s body, he and his mother, Gladys, were both reinterred to Graceland’s peaceful meditation garden in 1977.
In April 2019, Memphis was rocked by the news that Graceland might be moving to Japan.
“We had an offer 10 days ago to move Graceland to Japan,” said Elvis Presley Enterprises Managing Director Joel Weinshanker, The Guardian reported. “We had two offers to move to the Middle East and one [to move] to China. They offered us more profit than we could ever make in Memphis.”
However, the move never came to fruition. The King of Rock ‘n Roll’s residence remains firmly rooted, and so does his enduring fan base. As of April 2020, Graceland remains an homage to an icon.