Elvis Presley’s Graceland

Sixty years ago this month, Elvis made one of his most important purchases: Graceland.

In the spring of 1957, Elvis was filming his second movie, “Loving You,” and his home address was on Audubon Drive in Memphis, Tennessee. He’d had a slew of hits on the charts, and he’d appeared on many national television shows – including, most recently, his third and final “Ed Sullivan Show” appearance.

Elvis had outgrown the nice home he enjoyed on Audubon. It was a good home, but his neighbors complained about the seemingly constant stream of fans and the family’s chickens, which lived in the yard (things that never bothered Elvis). Elvis considered buying every neighboring house, but instead, he and his parents decided to find a larger home out in the country.

The famous Graceland gates were one of the first major changes Elvis made to the property.

The famous Graceland gates were one of the first major changes Elvis made to the property.

On Saturday, March 16, 1957, Elvis’ parents, Gladys and Vernon, took a tour of Graceland, which was a bit more secluded than the Audubon home. It sat high up on a hill off Highway 51, not far from the Mississippi-Tennessee State line.

The Presleys fell in love with the home, which had been built in 1939 by the Toof family. Named Graceland after the owners’ aunt, Grace, the beautiful, two-story home was exactly what they were looking for in a home for their family. They called Elvis, who was filming in Hollywood, and told him the good news.

Elvis arrived in Memphis on March 18, and the next day, he put a $1,000 down payment on the home. The purchase was finalized on March 25 for $102,500.

Elvis renovated the home several times, changing the furnishings and decor as trends came and went.

Elvis renovated the home several times, changing the furnishings and decor as trends came and went.

Elvis paid $10,000 in cash, received $55,000 from the realty company for the Audubon Drive home and got a 25-year mortgage for the remainder. Elvis purchased the home as well as 13.8 acres of the surrounding farm land.

The Presley family had Graceland renovated before moving in, so Vernon, Gladys and Elvis’ grandmother didn’t move in until May 16. Elvis was filming “Jailhouse Rock” by this time, so he didn’t spend the first night there until June 26.

Elvis loved Graceland. No matter where he traveled - or what other homes he owned - he always came back to Graceland.

Elvis loved Graceland. No matter where he traveled – or what other homes he owned – he always came back to Graceland.

Before owning and living in Graceland, Elvis and his parents had lived in several homes and apartments. But with the purchase of Graceland, Elvis found his home. He lived there for the remainder of his life – another 22 years – and made it his own. He redecorated and expanded – Graceland was 10,266 square feet when he moved in, and it’s 17,552 square feet now – and he added unique touches like the lions out front (did you ever notice that they are not identical?) and those famous Graceland gates. Inside, the house is a cozy family home, with a welcoming living room, gorgeous music room and fabulous dining room.

Downstairs, the basement dazzles with the colorful and completely unique Pool Room, and the TV Room is a media room like no other, complete with a built-in jukebox that holds 100 singles, as well as a turntable and three TVs. Oh, and don’t forget the Jungle Room, complete with its own fountain.

More than 20 million guests have experienced Graceland - including its famous Jungle Room.

More than 20 million guests have experienced Graceland – including its famous Jungle Room.

No matter where Elvis traveled, he always came home to Graceland. He raised his family there, spent many memorable holidays there and enjoyed many past times on the grounds, like horseback riding and racquetball.

Since opening to the public in 1982, Graceland has welcomed more than 20 million guests from all over the world. Some of those have been celebrities, royalty and U.S. Presidents. Elvis’ home sweet home was named to the American National Register of Historic Places in 1991.

Graceland is also home to Elvis' cars. You can see some of Elvis' most luxurious rides now at Presley Motors, our new automobile museum at Elvis Presley's Memphis at Graceland.

Graceland is also home to Elvis’ cars. You can see some of Elvis’ most luxurious rides now at Presley Motors, our new automobile museum at Elvis Presley’s Memphis at Graceland.

Want to know more?

Click here to learn about Graceland’s history, find out Graceland’s Top 20 Moments, and check out our blog about Graceland by the Numbers.

Learn more about how you can get married or renew your vows at Graceland’s Chapel in the Woods.

Want to see parts of Graceland that you may miss on tour? Check out our “Hidden Graceland” episodes of our web series, Gates of Gracelandwatch part 1, watch part 2 and watch part 3.

Graceland was both a rock star's awesome home as well as a comfy family home. It's where he jammed with friends and threw parties, but it's also where he raised his family.

Graceland was both a rock star’s awesome home as well as a comfy family home. It’s where he jammed with friends and threw parties, but it’s also where he raised his family.

And of course, the best way to celebrate Graceland is to experience it for yourself. The new exhibits in the Trophy Building at Graceland focus on the Presley family, as well as Graceland artifacts. In addition to seeing Lisa Marie’s toys and the family Bible, you can also see red furnishings from Graceland’s red period, plus Elvis’ keys to Graceland. (And don’t forget to book your stay at The Guest House at Graceland!)

Get your tickets today, and we’ll see you soon at the king’s castle.


10 Comments

  1. Pat Underhill

    visited Graceland in 1979 for my 32nd birthday. Loved the whole atmosphere in the Meditation Gardens even though we were battling the tail end of hurricane Fredrick. Managed to meet Uncle Vestor and he signed the book he had written. Just a great experience for a very devoted fan

  2. janet nader

    I am a long time fan of elvis. I live in india and am retired. Hope to visit Graceland one day’

  3. taylor lindley

    I what to see Elvis Presley house in Graceland

  4. Denise Reiber

    Would like more information on Graceland. Planning a trip and would like to include this special place as one of my stops. Thank you.

  5. Mary jo Overocker

    I would love to see Graceland someday !!!

  6. cheryl Lamm

    I went to the new opening 3/2/2017.I really liked it ,but we missed the cars,jumpsuites,gold records and awards.where are they?

    • Those are now at our new entertainment and exhibit complex, Elvis Presley’s Memphis. Elvis’ cars and other motorized toys are in the Presley Motors museum, and in the Presley Cycles exhibit. Many of Elvis’ jumpsuits and awards are now housed in Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum, the world’s largest Elvis museum.

  7. Joanne Wigzell

    I will be visiting Graceland in early May along with my brother and his wife. We’ve already booked the Ultimate VIP tour and are looking forward to it. I’ve been checking out the Graceland complex on Google Earth and generally online and it seems that the original iconic gates and wall out front of the mansion are now gone. Am I right? And if so, have the gates been preserved and relocated? I look forward to your reply by return email.

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