spotlight / Famous Properties
A Closer Look
“Graceland is the most unique his-
toric home tour you’ll ever take,”
said Kern. “It’s not presidential, it’s
not the Biltmore. It’s the original
crib of rock ‘n roll.”
Rather than an opulent home
with furnishings and décor im-
ported from Europe in the 1800s,
Graceland has the classic style of an
average American home from the
‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s—with a flashier,
rock-star edge. The house boasts
shag carpeting, crystal chandeliers,
fabric-covered walls, white marble
and bold colors and textures.
“People who grew up with Elvis
walk through Graceland and see
a bit of their own homes that they
grew up in,” said Kern.
For diehard fans, Graceland is a
place to personally connect with the
King. “You’re walking through the
same front door that he did. You’re
looking at the dining room table
where he had meals,” said Kern.
“You truly get an inside look at how
Elvis and his family lived.”
Graceland is a classic southern
Colonial mansion with stately col-
umns and a limestone exterior.
When Elvis moved in he added a
The King’s Lair
More than 35 years after Elvis
Presley’s death, his Memphis mansion
continues to celebrate the life and
legacy of the king of rock and roll.
While conspiracy theorists believe that Elvis Presley is hiding out some- where with Marilyn Monroe and John F. Kennedy, Jr., his mansion in
Memphis is his true home. Built in 1939, Graceland is a southern Colonial
mansion located on a sprawling wooded estate. Elvis purchased the home in
1957 for $100,000 with the proceeds from his first gold record.
He lived in Graceland for the next 20 years with his mother, father, grandmother, wife, Priscilla, and daughter, Lisa Marie, until his untimely death in
1977. After his death, Graceland was preserved and opened to public in 1982
as a museum and tribute to the King. In its 31-year history, Graceland is
reportedly the second most visited private home in the United States behind
the White House.
A National Treasure
After Presley died in 1977 of an accidental drug overdose in an upstairs bath-
room in Graceland, his grandmother continued to live there until her death.
A few years later, though, the estate began experiencing cash flow problems,
so Priscilla decided to open the house for public tours. “She thought they
might get two or three years out of the tours, which would be enough time
to build up a nest egg for Lisa Marie so she would have something to live off
of,” said Kern. “Now, 35 years later, we’re still giving tours. People flocked to
it then and continue to come to this day.”
Graceland welcomes more than 600,000 visitors each year. It is a vastly
popular attraction among Elvis fans
and tourists alike.
“There is something here for everyone,” said Kern. “Elvis was part
of the fabric of America. When he
stepped on the scene, there was a
revolution going on—a sexual revolution, a race revolution—and he
was wrapped up in it all. He helped
break down a lot of barriers. He has a
place in history and popular culture
that extends well beyond music.”
AS A NATIONAL HISTORIC
THAT IS LISTED ON THE
LY UNDERGOING PRESERVATION AND