With not too much effort, Graceland holds magical stories, of magical times. One of the most famous homes around today, it belonged to none other than Elvis Presley, aka, the King. The iconic estate has gone from being the king’s place of residence to a glorious museum, filled with his haunting presence.
We have entered the enchanted gates of Graceland, and have returned with extraordinary stories, heartwarming memories, and remarkable facts that we are sure you didn’t know.
Before Graceland Became Graceland
Before Elvis Presley purchased what is known today as Graceland, it was really just another estate. It was big but boring. The land was used for grazing herds and free spaces for picnics and gatherings. In 1939 it was bought by a doctor who built there his family home.
The original owner's wife was named Grace, which turned into a significant part of the place's history. Elvis named the estate after her and built his dream home on the land.
Welcome to Graceland
Even though Elvis' decorating taste might have been a little questionable, there is still a certain charm about the interior of the home that showcases the musical sensation's personality. Currently, over 600,000 visitors go visit Graceland each year.
It opened to the public in the early 1980s and is considered the first site, to be dedicated to music, and rock N roll in particular. It is the second most visited private home in America, after the Whitehouse.
Moving into His New Home
Crowned The King, he purchased the mansion just outside of Memphis Tennessee at the age of 22. In 1982 Elvis's home was transformed into a museum and was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The eye-popping home was, and always will be an icon in Elvis's life, and it reflects what The King was all about. A grand musician, a loving father, and a lover of good food.
The Kitchen is Where the Heart is
The heart of the house is indeed the kitchen. Unlike other parts of the Graceland mansion, the kitchen was only opened to the public in 1995. During his years there, Elvis invested quite a bit in kitchen appliances, and just like anything else he bought, he only went for the best.
Graceland's kitchen was one of the first ones to have a microwave which still stands in the kitchen these days. A magnificent draw which revealed extra hobs was part of the kitchen, a modern dishwasher, and any other device money could buy.
Take Me to the Jungle
Graceland was a mansion with a double-figure number of rooms. Elvis loved his house so much, that he didn't want any reason to leave it. He built his own recording studio in the house, where he recorded most of his final hits in there.
The room is better known as The Jungle Room thanks to its green and wild decor. The room had been described as The Nerve Centre" of the house. He would eat his breakfast there, entertain his family and friends, and until this day, hold most of Elvis's chrematistics.
A Majestic Visit
Sometime in the late 1970' after a live performance in Memphis, Bruce Springsteen spontaneously decided to pay the King a visit. According to Springsteen, he saw there were lights on but interestingly climbed the wall and not surprisingly, was stopped by the security guards. Elvis wasn't home at the time, so Bruce was pleasantly led of the grounds of the mansion.
Bruce admits that Elvis Presley was an idol, and he literally worshipped him. Funnily enough, Bruce asked to leave a message saying that he came to visit. We wonder if that message was ever passed on.
Who Will Look Out for Graceland?
After Elvis passes away, Priscilla suddenly found herself responsible for the upkeep of Graceland, which costs more than $500,000 a year to maintain. Lisa Marie, Elvis and Priscilla's daughter was the only heiress of the estate.
After barely staying afloat and spending much of her inheritance, she finally decided to turn Graceland into a tourist attraction. It took Priscilla less than four months after opening, to make back the money she invested into the project. She remained the chairwoman and president of Elvis Presley Enterprises until Lisa Marie was old enough to take on the role herself.
A Graceful Funeral
On August 18th, 1977, Elvis' funeral was held at Graceland. As the casket came through, thousands of fans stood outside hoping to get a glimpse of their beloved idol. Now Forest Hill Cemetry is a place of rest not only for his mother but also for the king himself.
Just a week after the funeral, someone tried to steal the body which was moved to Graceland's Meditation Garden in response. The public got a good look at Elvis in his casket though, after his cousin, Billy Mann was offered $18,000 by the "National Enquirer" for a photo. It was the magazine's biggest-selling issue.
An Airplane Parking Lot
Elvis paid $600 000 for his jet plane. Convair division of General Dynamics is the one who constructed the business jet which was designed to compete with other plains.
Elvis purchased the jet on April 17, 1975. The king had no problem affording this purchase, as he is regarded as one of the most influential and celebrated musicians of the 20th century. Elvis had the plane decked out in gold-plated bathroom fittings and hired the decorators behind Air Force One. The plane was named Lisa Marie after his daughter and can now be found on display at Graceland.
Second Floor Mysteries
The second floor of the Graceland mansion is closed to the public and always has been. When Elvis passed, he was found in the bathroom on the second floor of the house, and the family wanted to preserve the privacy of the event. They also wanted to avoid any disrespectful behavior in the place he ended his life.
The rooms remain untouched and Priscilla, Lisa Marie, and Graceland's administrators are the only ones who can enter that space.
His Eternal Home
When you're the one and only Elvis Presley, you are praised with two gravesites after your passing. The King of Rock and Roll passed away from a prescribed medication overdose in 1977 and was initially buried in Forest Hills Cemetery, Memphis, Tennessee. Due to vandalism, Elvis and his mother were moved to their current memorial in Graceland.
To visit the legend's grave, you must purchase tickets to tour Graceland itself. Fans from across the globe make their way to Graceland to pay tribute to Presley to this day.
Second Time Crowned
After Elvis and Priscilla came back from their honeymoon, they held a second reception for all the friends who weren't there for the first time. It was at their home at Graceland. A perfect destination for glamorous events.
Graceland was a place for new beginnings and new chapters in life as shortly after their Graceland wedding, Priscilla learned she was pregnant. While Priscilla likely felt she was too young, Elvis was concerned that fatherhood would have a negative impact on his career and that his wife would use motherhood as an excuse to let herself go. Surprisingly enough, non of the above happened.
As thousands stood outside of Graceland to mourn the loss of their idol, a car drove through the crowd which resulted in the death of two people and seriously injuring a third.
Graceland became a Mecca not only for Elvis's fans but to anyone who has even a slight interest in music, rock N roll in particular. Many people at the time refused to believe that Elvis has died, and there are still those who don't believe it, even until this day.
Priscilla's First Trip To Graceland
Even though her parents refused to allow her to move in with Elvis, they agreed to let her visit for two weeks as long as three conditions are met: Elvis was asked to pay for a first-class round trip plane ticket, arrange for a chaperone to be with Priscilla at all times, and Priscilla had to write home every day.
He agreed. However, once Priscilla arrived he surprised her by telling her they'd be going to Las Vegas.
Priscilla Returnes To Gracland
Priscilla's next visit to Graceland was the following Christmas. After letting it be known that he planned to marry her, Elvis was able to convince her parents to allow her to finish high school in Memphis so they could be close to each other.
After agreeing that she would live with Elvis' father and stepmother, Priscilla was enrolled at Immaculate Conception High School. However, she ultimately moved in with Elvis before she graduated.
A Haunted House
In a recent interview, Priscilla claimed that she can see and hear Elvis' presence when she goes to Graceland. She said it feels like communicating with his spirit. She can see him coming down the stairs, laughing, or playing music. According to her, it's more beautiful than scary.
Apparently, she's not the only one who has these experiences. Over the years, many fans and visitors have claimed to have seen Elvis, and many are sure that he is still alive.
I Want My MTV
Before the big flat-wide television came into our lives, shows were projected through small TV boxes. Twenty-five inches were as big as the screens were in those days.
Elvis himself held in Graceland a few TVs, as he loved to entertain and he loved to watch TV. Graceland's entertainment room didn't consist of only one television, but several s, so that no matter where you sat, or who was sitting in front of you, a clear view of a screen was always available.
Let's Play Some Pool
Many of the rooms in Graceland were tastefully designed while the Presley family still lived there, however, there are some rooms, which probably didn't have a designer's touch, let alone any touch at all. And it is clearly visible in the mansion pool room. Fabrics and wallpaper decorate the space, in an almost suffocating manner.
Forget the design for one minute, as Elvis did invest in all the small detail and provided a small dish for his guests to place their car keys, wallets ex while playing the game. It's all about the small details.
Throughout the years, many people visited Graceland, but also plenty of animals visited the estate. They had stables with horses, chickens and ducks, dogs, and donkeys. Elvis even owned a bird that could answer the phone and say a few phrases.
Elvis was indeed an animal lover, and his love for them was surely shown around the house. Graceland was lively and full of good vibes, thanks to these creatures who walked on four legs all over the place.
Not too many people know this, but life in Graceland didn't stop after Elvis's passing. Elvis might have not lived there, but another member of the family did, keeping the place running a few more years. After Elvis's parents passed away, his Aunt moved into the estate. She carried on living there until 1993.
The entire mansion became a museum, while her bedroom was kept off boundaries. After her passing, her room was added and became part of the Graceland Tour.
Graceland museum displayed the gold and glory possessed by Elvis and his family. It is no secret Presley liked beautiful things, and beautiful things liked him back. The dining room display in Graceland is full of expensive chinaware that is kept cleaned and polished all year round.
The dining room is set as if the family is about to walk and sit down for their meal and the spirits are felt between the walls. The room holds less than 10% of the family's china possessions.
The kitchen was the heart of the house. Where everything happened and where Elvis's s guilty pleasures were prepared. Apparently, there was a secret stairway that lead him right into the kitchen. A sort of shortcut between his bedroom and the mystery cave.
The actual staircase doesn't have a glamorous to it, besides a standard chandelier to light the way to his peanut butter banans sandwiches.
Living in the Living Room
The living room in Graceland is kept as it was in the 1970s; when the Presley family lived there. The interior design might not be our first pick, but back then, Elvis was practically leading in fashion. Amongst all the furniture and items in the living room, a samurai sword lays neatly in one of the draws.
No one knows where it comes from, no one knows if it was ever used. All they do know is that it has been there since 1977, and has never been moved since.
Mirror Mirror in the Wall
Attached to the dining room, there is a relatively small room that consists of a piano, television, and modest decorating. This s the music room. Elvis would entertain here (he would entertain in all rooms through the house, however, there was something more intimate about this space, according to the Graceland administrators who have studied the king's biography.
Peacock-stained glass adorns the room, and a massive mirror hangs from it. It seems that each corner of the house received its few moments of attention, and even the smallest of them all, was carefully designed.
When Elvis first purchased the mansion, besides the main house, there was nothing. Just a house, on a significant portion of land. The first thing he added after moving in was a swimming pool. The first summer he moved in, time wasn't wasted and a kidney-shaped pool was built in the backyard.
The swimming pool completed the house and turned Graceland into the perfect extravaganza playground for any kid, not only Elvis's.
Time for Meditation
Graceland is not only about big rooms and eye-blinding chandeliers as Elvis is not only about rock N roll and deep-fried food. Graceland has its corners of tranquility, and one of them is the meditation garden. Apparently, Elvis used to spend time in his garden to clear his mind and to spare a few moments to himself.
Elvis did a good job in designing this part of the house. As soon as one enters the swimming pool area, and walks through the greens of the garden, a sense of calmness envelops you and for a moment all problems of life seem to disappear.
The Purple Room
Elvis or Priscilla were not known as purple lovers. They did not use this color on anything specific in the house and it was treated like any other shade (except gold which had a special spot in their lives). One bedroom is decorated purple, and apparently, this was Elvis's mother's choice.
She was planned to live on the estate with Elvis and Priscilla but passed away shortly after the estate was bought. Elvis's Aunt moved into that room, and ket it purple as it was designed to be.
A Self Portrait
There is no way to forget who Graceland belongs, however, the administrators alongside Priscila Presley decided to scatter self-portraits and photos of the king all over the mansion. The photos and images cover many points in Elvis's life. From the army days to the early times of his career, photos of him with friends and ones with family.
The photos enhance the mystical feeling that surrounds the house and emphasize the big loss everyone felt.
Vernon Presley was Elvises father and he was also his manager. Not quite a musician manager, but more of someone who managed all personal matters. Like all managers, Vernon needed an office, and the Gates of Graceland where gave him exactly that.
Vernon occupied a room and was mainly busy sorting the king's mail. It is said that Elvis would join his father in the office room, and together they would read the fan's letters.
When Lisa Marie Presley was growing up, she never thought in a million years that her Graceland bedroom would turn into a museum, and if that's not enough, it would be one of America's most famous homes. Together with most of the house, Lisa's bedroom has been preserved as well.
In one of her latest interviews, she said that visiting Graceland is like going back in time. Nothing had been touched since 1977.
Ride Around the Block
Graceland is decorated by numerous vehicles, previously owned by Elvis Presley. Throughout Elvis's life, if the music was first, the cars came in not too far behind. The interior of Graceland was glittering gold, and the parking lot was sparkling pink (thanks to his famous pink Cadillac ).
The car collection has been kept as they were back in the days, and even the scratches or bumps on the cars, have been kept and never repaired.
Only Worn by the King
Indeed there is no other item that is so identified with Elvis Presley as his wardrobe. His magnificent jumpsuits can be spotted from a mile and no other musician, in any other period in time, has ever been seen in one of these. Graceland holds some of the most iconic outfits and they are honorably displayed.
When Elvis appeared in his suits, some people thought they were outrageous and in a way disgraceful, however, those were time-changing days, and as Elvis invented the wheels of music, he surely left his mark when it comes to jumpsuits.
Elvis, Sing Me a Song
Graceland wouldn't be complete without an impressive display of Elvis's records. The amount of record awards Elvis Presley earned throughout his lifetime is in its thousands.
Elvis nabbed awards from all countries in the world, making him not only a local American idol but an international phenomenon. Graceland preserves a special place for his record awards and they are aligned like soldiers along the walls.
Graceland was indeed the ideal place to bring up animals of all sorts, and most of the animals lead their life peacefully on the estate's grounds surrounding the house. However, there was one particular animal that didn't enjoy the outside life, so decided to move in with the permanent residents of the house.
Elvis had a chimpanzee named Scatter, who was more than just a pet to Elvis. He would entertain the visitors (and annoy them as well), however at one stage, having him walking around the corridors of Graceland was just a bit too much, that he was moved to another wing of the house.
Not Only Music
Many have forgotten, but Elvis wasn't only a rock N roller. When he wants too busy singing or recording, he was a megastar on the widescreen. Although music was always his first love, and he was always and always will be mostly identified with his tunes, Elvis was successful in his movies, and he has some awards to prove this.
They are securely stored in Graceland and they enrich and complement the legend he was.
In his later years, Elvis became a major sports fan. He was so obsessed with racquetball that he honored Graceland with a racquetball court on the premisses.
Now, it's Elvis we're talking about, so the court didn't just end with a court. It had a waiting area and a comfortable lounge so he could relax after his sports session.
King David Vs King Elvis
Luckily enough, Graceland is so big that it had plenty of space for everything the king wished for. So, if self-portraits were not enough, Elvis decorated the mansion with statues and sculptures. He almost turned this estate into a little Rome. Amongst others, he even had a copy of the famous David statue.
Not one, but two. One for his music room and one preserved for his wardrobe room. Go figure.
Home Alone (Never)
Elvis is known to have been a great entertainer. Not only on stage as a musician, but also an entertainer in his own home, Graceland. It is said, that Elvis never spent a night alone in his mansion and that there was always someone keeping him company.
This could have been a family member, friend, or bandmate. Graceland turned into a second home for many of Elvis's acquaintances, and although it was huge in dimensions, it was cozy and warm from within.
Graceland's Shopping List
To keep a household the size of Graceland, does not come cheap. The weekly cost to fill the Gracelands refrigerator is reported to be around 500$, which in those days was a lot. There were certain items that were a must at all times and became part of the mansion's scenery.
Pepsi, biscuits, sauerkraut, banana pudding, brownies, gum, and all ingredients that form the famous Presley peanut butter sandwich, are just a few of the items that had to be present at all times.
Elvis is not the only family member who is buried in Graceland. The grounds of the mansion have become a graveyard for Elvis, his parents, Glydays and Vernon Presley, and his grandmother Minnie Mae Presley. In 2020, Elvises grandson (Lisa Marie's son) joined his family members to rest, and he as well was buried there.
The meditation garden Elvis designed over 40 years ago has become truly a piece of heaven and a place of rest.
And They Came in Their Hundreds...
Elvis enjoyed his share of fans going absolutely crazy over him. Girls would faint, men would rock to his tunes, and there was almost no one who stayed oblivious to his talent and charm. What Elvis didn't know, is that Graceland, his home, would become a meeting point for thousands of fans who come to pay tribute to their idol.
The crowds would come marching down to the gates of the mansion, some still not believing the king was dead.
The Graceland Guesthouse
If visiting Graceland's museum, there is more. Minutes from Elvis's magical Graceland, there is an exclusive guesthouse. Southern-style hospitality, luxurious surroundings, and anything one could dream of that would make you feel like a king, even for one day. The Graceland guesthouse is inspired by Elvis's warm ways of entertaining and the interior design, which is probably what Elvis would have chosen himself.
The guesthouse owners have managed to provide an experience that on one hand, takes you back in time, and on the other, makes you realize, that rock 'n' roll (and the king) will live on for eternity.
Some Facts and Figures
All in all, Elvis spent 20 years of his life in Graceland. It has been accepting visitors for over 30 years. The number of visitors has exceeded 20 million. The fans fligh in from over 140 countries to visit the mansion. Graceland is so fan-friendly, that the guide is translated into no less than ten languages.
Almost 1000 celebrities have visited Graceland over the years amongst others Muhhamad Ali, Paul Simon, Prince William, Bob Dylan, and the list goes on and on.
Gates of Greenland
Now, although Gates of Graceland is a web series that focuses on Elvis's life, Graceland was a huge part of his days. He did literally love Graceland like a man loves a woman, or like a child loved his pet. It was true love. The web series covers videos, photos, interviews, and stories of the king himself and of friends and close ones.
It covers his ongoing legacy and his influence on music, back then and today. Many of the interviews were held in Graceland, as Graceland was the most natural place for him to be.
Graceland displays the home of the Presley family, exposing their living room, kitchen, and other areas around the house, where they spent most of their days. However, there are some hidden items, that if they weren't revealed, you would probably be unaware of their existence.
Elvis was a pioneer and a great innovator when it came to devices. On one of his sofas, he had a unique button, that when pressed, the kitchen staff would hear his announcement or requests. So, when the king wanted another sandwich, he didn't have to go too far.
Graceland is not only about spacious rooms and eye-blinding decor. It is also about the small things in life, that for some - can sweeten any day. So for those who are less fortunate and can't visit the mansion, it is time to connect with someone who can. Graceland offers so many souvenirs, all decorated with an image of the Graceland mansion.
Face masks, caps, Graceland throws to place on your sofa, and snowglobes are just some of the items that can be found. If this is as close as we can get, then this will do.
Never too Far Away From Home
Being the king, Elvis toured a lot, meaning he was away from his beloved Graceland for many days throughout the year. He had special requests for the hotels he stayed in around the world, just to make his absence slightly easier. He would ask the hotels to rearrange and redesign some of the rooms he stayed in.
On some occasions, couches and other furniture would be shipped to wherever he was staying, just so he could have something familiar from home.
The Graceland administrators and the Graceland fans know very well, that if you're not on social media, and if you don't have some sort of web platform for communication, you don't really exist. Besides buying tickets to visit the mansion, the Graceland website has space for the huge Elvis fans.
They are able to share photos of their visits to the estate, post live on Instagram, and share their personal stories and experiences. Through these stories, Elvis's heritage will surely live on forever, and the story of the king of rock N roll will never die.
Numerous songs and records were either named after or inspired by the magnificent mansion of Graceland. One of the most recognized ones in Simon and Garfunkel's album, Graceland. The inspiration for the name came from the resemblance of the track's sounds to the Sun Records, where Elvis Presley used to record his songs.
The song Graceland is about going on a road trip after some hard times. A road trip through wild roads leading to pure escapism - like Graceland.