In Memphis, Graceland, the King’s house, narrowly escapes auction

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Graceland is one of the most famous places in the United States. Every year, more than 600,000 people visit it.

Graceland, the final resting place of Elvis Presley, located in Memphis, Tennessee, could be sold by the investment company which claims ownership; but the King’s granddaughter, actress Riley Keough, managed to have the sale canceled for the moment.

The clan headquarters

Elvis Presley, rock’n’roll legend, bought the large Memphis estate in 1957. The singer died there twenty years later, in all likelihood in the first floor toilet. He is buried in the garden, as are other members of his family – including his only daughter, Lisa Marie, who died in 2023, aged 54. She had inherited the place at the age of 25 and ousted her mother, Priscilla, from the inheritance for the benefit of her children.

Read also: At Graceland, everything Elvis, except the music

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But an investment company assures today that Lisa Marie had taken out a loan, never repaid, by mortgaging Graceland. And the establishment claims ownership of the premises to put it up for auction. At the last minute, actress Riley Keough, granddaughter of Elvis and Priscilla Presley, managed to have the sale canceled. While waiting for a trial which should decide the fate of the house.

A place of pilgrimage

If Graceland is so coveted, it is because the residence is one of the most famous places
of America. There are more than six hundred thousand fans and curious people who come each year to visit the 13 hectares of the park and explore part of the twenty-three room house.

Since 1982, when it opened to the public, the address has been a place of pilgrimage. Parades take place on the avenue, renamed Elvis Presley Boulevard. The singer’s birthdays (his birth, his death, the releases of his albums) are celebrated. Local restaurants serve banana-peanut butter sandwiches, which the bulimic star devoured daily, washed down with Coca-Cola. Tourism revenues linked to the King for the city of Memphis are estimated at 150 million dollars (138 million euros) per year.

A temple of excess

When Elvis was alive, all of Graceland revolved around him. The singer spent time in the basement watching three televisions simultaneously. According to academic Mark Crispin Miller, in an article in the New York Review of Books published in 1977, Graceland was “the headquarters of an organization dedicated to him”. The kitchen cupboards must have been constantly stocked with his favorite treats, the record players played his songs.

Lover of Polynesian aesthetics since filming Nanar Under the blue sky of Hawaii, in 1961, he had installed a jungle room : ferns, waterfall wall, green moss carpet, tropical furniture… When he went on tour, his teams installed Graceland furniture in the hotel suites so that he would feel comfortable there.

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