Thursday, August 16, 2007

Remembering Elvis Presley Part 4

Graceland is known the world over as the home of Elvis Presley and now it is a museum that can be toured daily by his fans. Thousands of visitors come every year to see the home of the man they call “The King of Rock & Roll”, but Elvis did not build Graceland it was built long before Elvis was shaking his hips for the world.

Graceland was originally owned by S. E. Toof, a publisher of the Memphis newspaper, "The Memphis Daily Appeal". The grounds were named after Toof's 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, who, in 1939 together with her husband Dr. Thomas Moore, had the present American "colonial" style mansion built.

Elvis purchased Graceland in early 1957 after her became a star and his home in east Memphis started becoming a tourist attraction. Elvis moved into Graceland together with his father Vernon and mother Gladys. After his mother died in 1958, and Vernon married Dee Stanley in 1960, the couple lived there for a time, but soon moved down the road to their own place. Wife-to-be Priscilla Beaulieu also lived at Graceland for five years before she and Elvis married. After their marriage in Las Vegas on May 1, 1967, Priscilla lived in Graceland five more years until she separated from Elvis in late 1972. On August 16, 1977, Elvis died in his bathroom at Graceland allegedly of a heart attack, according to one medical examiner report at the time.

After initially being buried at Forrest Hill Cemetery, and following an attempt to rob his grave, Elvis’ remains were moved to Graceland. The estate has become a pilgrimage for Elvis fans across the world. Elvis was buried in one of the modifications her made to the home, the Meditation Garden. He is buried their next to his father, mother and grandmother. The garden opened to the public in 1978.

The mansion itself is constructed of tan limestone and consists of twenty-three rooms, including eight bedrooms and bathrooms. The entrance way contains several Corinthian columns and two large lions perched on both sides of the portico. After purchasing the property Presley carried out extensive modifications to suit his needs and tastes, including: a fieldstone wall surrounding the grounds, a wrought-iron music styled gate, a swimming pool, a racquetball court, and the famous "jungle room" which features an indoor waterfall, among other modifications.

During the time 20 years Elvis called Graceland home it grew from 10,266 square feet when originally bought by Presley to 17,552 square feet. Graceland opened to the public on June 7, 1982. And the rest is history. Now please enjoy these photos of the home that meant so much to Elvis.

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