When we arrive at 3764 Elvis Presley Boulevard, I get tingles up and down my back. I am actually going to be in the confines where one of America’s most famous entertaining legends lived. This in itself is a spiritual and surreal feeling that could not have ever been imagined as a young child. Here we are walking in the same foot steps of an Icon who influenced the music industry for more than a half of a century.
We enter the park and find our way to the welcome center to select our tour. We get on the bus and it takes us right to the front door of the 13.8-acre Southern Colonial mansion estate that Elvis Aaron Presley purchased the in March 1957. We gather on the front porch then begin our journey, entering through the elegant doors. Elvis’s spirit touches us like a tender tap on the shoulder. I was actually standing in the same entryway where Elvis Presley stood many times before. The tour is self-guided from this point so we are on our own. We gather our thoughts and proceed with the tour.
The first room we come to is the formal living room. It was fashioned for the times and had that mystic “Elvis” feel. Behind the formal sitting room is an elaborate designed entryway leading into a private parlor that highlights a grand piano. I wonder how many of Elvis’s songs were composed in that private little room. On the bleach-white table as I enter the formal living room is a picture that immortalizes one of the greatest entertainers that ever lived. To the lower left is a picture of his parents.
Just to the left of the living room is a bedroom. This is where his parents slept. Elvis loved to have his family around him. From rags-to-riches, Elvis took very good care of Vernon and Gladys Presley. It has been said that Elvis decorated the bedroom in purple because it was his mother’s favorite color. Sad to say, Elvis’s mom died a couple years after they moved into Graceland. The chandelier and mirrored hallway leads to Elvis’s master bedroom. This portion of the house is totally off-limits and cannot be entered. Elvis always kept his bedroom as his personal sanctuary. The family honors and respects his wishes.
From there we proceed to the formal dining room and its elaborate place settings. The kitchen is directly behind the dinning room (shown below).
Next is the downstairs or, as we call it these days, “The Man Cave.” This is were Elvis would entertain guests. It has a media room, bar and game room. This is also where the “King” would come to unwind. He would watch multiple television channels (see TVs mounted on the front wall) and in those days this was a quite a sophisticated set up. Elvis had a flare for color combinations and mirrored walls and ceilings. There is an extensive record collection sitting on a table against the wall. We don’t get an opportunity to see what type of music Elvis listened to, but I wouldn’t hesitate to guess it was a mix of rock & roll, gospel, country — and everything in-between. Elvis liked it all.
From the entertainment room we cross into the game room. This part of the downstairs is more relaxing and subtle with its dim lighting. The ceiling and walls are draped in a paisley design tapestry, giving it a secluded but cozy feel. From here we make our way back up the stairs and find ourselves in what was possibly one of Elvis’s favorite rooms.
The Jungle Room is one of the most exotic designed rooms in the mansion. It shows off Elvis’s sense of creativity and his love for Hawaii with Polynesian accents in every part of this spacious room. From shag carpeting on the floor and ceiling to the detailed waterfall that occupies the forward wall, it oozes uniqueness and is a fan favorite. The furniture is hand carved wood and has no seconds. The Jungle Room was the setting for many of Elvis’s 1976 recording sessions. Not long after he released some of the songs on multiple albums, he passed away. The two stools and the bar-like table in the back of the room (pictured below) is where Elvis might have written some of his last songs.
The inside tour winds down from here but it is hard to leave the mansion. I get this strange feeling Elvis is thanking us for stopping by and visiting. The last part of the tour is a stop at the pool area where Elvis would cool off on those hot Memphis days.
The outside grounds and exhibits are just as interesting as the mansion tour. In part two of our remaining tour we will visit the business office, racquetball facility turned wardrobe shrine, Elvis’s private planes and grave sites. Look for its released in upcoming weeks.
Author: Anthony Scopel
Photographer: Maureen Scopel