1. Presley paid $102,500 for Graceland in 1957. 

Hot on the heels of his breakout year in 1956 that turned him into an international music, TV and movie star, Elvis Presley, at age 22, bought the 10,000-foot colonial-style mansion on 13.8 acres in Memphis, Tennessee, for what would amount to an estimated $1.1 million today. Presley moved into Graceland with his parents and lived there for 20 years until his death in 1977. The estate grew to 17,552 square feet after additions and features 23 rooms with eight bedrooms, eight bathrooms and five staircases. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 2006, the first rock-n-roll site to be named to both lists. 

2. The mansion is named after an original landowner. 

Long before the land Graceland sits on belonged to Presley, it was part of 500 acres of farmland owned by the S.E. Toof family for generations. When descendant Ruth Brown Moore and her husband, Dr. Thomas Brown Moore, built their 10,266-square-foot home there in 1939, they dubbed it Graceland, after Ruth’s aunt, Grace Toof Ward. While not named by Presley, Graceland did have a musical tie. Ruth Marie Moore, the Moore’s daughter, played harp with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, and the family often hosted recitals at the mansion. 

3. The King kept a menagerie of animals at the mansion.

Elvis Presley's horses on the Graceland estate in Memphis, Tennessee, circa, 1982.
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Elvis Presley's horses on the Graceland estate in Memphis, Tennessee, circa, 1982.

An avid animal lover, Presley kept plenty of pets at Graceland–from Bowtie the turkey to a mynah bird who could chirp phrases including “Elvis isn’t here” to a number of horses and dogs to a chimpanzee named Scatter and a squirrel monkey named Jayhew. Two wallabies, gifted by Australian fans, were donated to the Memphis Zoo, as were peacocks. He even reportedly kept donkeys in his kidney-shaped swimming pool, added in 1957, before it was filled. 

4. Presley recorded songs in the mansion’s legendary Jungle Room.

To Presley, it was simply “the den.” Still, one of the most unique rooms in the mansion has come to be known as the Jungle Room for its Polynesian-themed decor that includes green shag carpeting on the floor–and ceiling, rainbow lighting, faux wood walls, carved wood furniture and even an artificial waterfall. The room, a 1965 addition, also served as a recording studio, with 16 songs from Presley’s final two albums cut there. 

Other Graceland additions and rooms of note: 

  • Soon after moving in, Presley had wrought-iron gates installed. “With their stylized representations of a guitar-strumming Elvis set against a pattern of musical staffs and notes, the gates suggest the entryway to a musical heaven,” according to the Memphis Commerical Appeal
  • In 1974, Presley had now-iconic stained-glass peacock panels added to the living room. 
  • Presley added a racquetball building to the estate in 1975 that includes a court, pinball machine and piano, as well as a trophy hall housing memorabilia and awards. 
  • Inspired by President Lyndon Johnson, Presley had three TV sets mounted in his basement television room to watch the three major networks simultaneously. 
  • A basement billiards room features walls draped in 350-plus yards of pleated fabric. "Elvis never lost a game of pool on that table,” Kevin Kern, director of public relations for Elvis Presley Enterprises, told Memphis Magazine. “Everyone knew Elvis had to win." 

5. The kitchen was fully stocked for Presley at all times. 

According to the 1993 book The Life and Cuisine of Elvis Presley, groceries to be available in the Graceland kitchen “at all times–every day” included fresh, lean ground round steak, one case of Pepsi, one case of orange drink, rolls, at least six cans of biscuits, pickles, wieners, peanut butter, banana pudding, ingredients for meatloaf and sauce, brownies, fudge cookies, gum, cigars, cigarettes and Sucrets, among other items. 

6. Elvis is buried on the mansion’s grounds.

Presley’s funeral was held at Graceland the day after a public viewing in the mansion’s foyer drew an estimated 25,000 mourning fans. Elvis was first buried at a nearby mausoleum alongside his mother, Gladys, then their remains were relocated to Graceland’s Meditation Garden after thieves attempted to steal his body. Presley, his parents, grandmother, daughter and grandson are also buried there. A memorial for Presley’s twin brother, who was stillborn, is also on-site. Court documents show Priscilla Presley will be buried near her former husband at Graceland.

7. Pricilla Presley made Graceland a business. 

Following Vernon Presley’s death, Presley’s ex-wife, Priscilla Presley, was appointed as a co-executor/co-trustee, and, facing financial challenges in maintaining the estate, she worked to open Graceland to the public in 1982. Her expansions and renovations turned the mansion into one of the most-visited private homes in the country, with more than 600,000 annual visitors, making it the second-most visited home in America, after the White House.   

Per Presley’s will, his daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, inherited the property when he died, taking control of her trust on her 25th birthday in 1993. Upon her death in 2023, her daughter, actress Riley Keough, was named its owner.

8. Members of Presley’s family continued to live at Graceland after his death. 

Presley died unexpectedly in 1977 at age 42, but his father, Vernon Presley, stayed on at Graceland until his death in 1979, and his grandmother, Minnie Mae Presley, remained there until her death the following year. But his aunt, Delta Mae Presley Biggs, lived there longest, even after Graceland opened to the public in 1982, staying on the property from 1966 until her death in 1993. Tours stayed out of the kitchen and Delta’s room while she lived there. And, while the kitchen has been open to touring since 1995, the second-floor bedroom suite, where Presley died, remains off-limits and has not been changed since his death. 

9. You can tour two of Presley’s custom jets. 

Dubbed the Lisa Marie (and also, the Flying Graceland and Hound Dog I), Presley’s private plane, a Convair 880, is displayed at Graceland, and visitors can board it to check out the jet’s master bedroom, living room, conference room, two half-baths and added touches such as gold-plated seatbelts and suede sofas. Also on site is the Hound Dog II, a Lockheed JetStar that seats 10, as well as the Elvis Presley Automobile Museum in Graceland Plaza, where you can find more than 20 cars owned by Presley, including his Pink Cadillac and Stutz Blackhawk. 

10. Graceland inspired a Grammy-winning album … and some famous trespassers. 

Paul Simon said for some reason, he couldn't get the line, “I’m going to Graceland,” out of his head. He told the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame that he had initially used the line just as a placeholder when working on what would become his mega-selling 1986 album, "Graceland." But when he kept singing the line, he decided a trip to Memphis was in order.

“I didn’t tell anybody I was coming. I didn’t get any special treatment. I just waited on the line, and went there, walked around, was singularly unimpressed–’til you finish the tour, and you come outside, and then there’s his grave and it said, ‘Elvis Presley whose music touched millions of people all around the world.’ And I read it, and I just started to cry. … Being in the crowds that come to Graceland, it’s almost like a religious thing about Elvis. So the song started to write itself…”

But while Simon paid his way in, two other iconic musicians did not. Jerry Lee Lewis was arrested outside the mansion around 3 a.m. in 1976 while “screaming and yelling and waving a Derringer in the air," according to the Commercial Appeal. Then, in 1975 (also around 3 a.m.), Bruce Springsteen jumped a wall and ran up the hill to the mansion to try and meet the King, but was turned away and politely escorted off the estate by security.


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