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Friday, October 28, 2005 Bookmark Now! | Email to a friend  

Why is Elvis' mansion called Graceland?

Several searches on "Graceland" finally led me to a fascinating American Art piece by Ann Marling, Elvis Presley's Graceland, or the Aesthetic of Rock'n'Roll Heaven. If you're even mildly interested in interior design, rock stardom, retro aesthetics, idol worship, Gone with the Wind, myth marketing, or The King, I highly recommend reading this article. It's outstanding.

In answer to the specific question, the Graceland estate was named after Grace Toof, a wealthy lady whose family owned the property for almost one hundred years. Grace's niece, Ruth, inherited the land in 1940 and promptly built herself a grand colonial mansion, replete with Greek columns and antique heirlooms. Gone with the Wind had come out the year before.

In 1957, Elvis was in Hollywood shooting a movie while his parents, Vernon and Gladys, and his uncle Vester were scouting out potential properties for the star. They called him immediately after viewing Graceland. On the 17th of March, Elvis bought the place for one hundred thousand dollars. He was twenty-two years old.

Yahoo!'s Graceland category has several great sites devoted to the "house on the hill," including some virtual tours. And don't forget the official website, which answers a few other common questions: Why aren't we allowed upstairs? And what's with the misspelling of Aaron on the tombstone?

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