Elvis Presley's Graceland: 10 Things You Didn't Know About the Legendary Home

Here are 10 facts you might not have known about Elvis Presley's famous Memphis home

01 of 10

Elvis Didn't Name Graceland

Elvis Presley at Graceland
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

Eager to find a rural refuge away from wild fans and the pressure of fame, 22-year-old Elvis Presley purchased his Graceland estate on March 19, 1959, for $102,500 — or more than $900,000 in today's money. The property came with its famous moniker already in place. When Dr. Thomas Moore and his wife Ruth built the Colonial Revival style mansion in 1939, they named it after Ruth's aunt, Grace Toof, whose father had owned the land previously used for farming.

02 of 10

It Had a Serious Shopping List

Interior of Graceland Mansion, Memphis, Tennessee.
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Presley was known for his love of peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwiches, but sometimes his Southern palate demanded other delicacies. Graceland contained an extensive list of goods that the King required on hand "at all times, every day." Such items on his shopping list (which ran approximately $500 a week) included:

—One case regular Pepsi

—One case orange drink

—At least six cans of biscuits

—Cans of sauerkraut


—Banana pudding (cooked fresh nightly)

—Ingredients for meatloaf and sauce


—Ice cream (vanilla and chocolate)

—Shredded coconut

—Fudge cookies

—Gum (Spearmint, Doublemint, Juicy Fruit, three each)

A buzzer was installed in the kitchen under his place at the table if he needed anything.

03 of 10

Elvis Shared His Home with a Chimpanzee

American singer Elvis Presley
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Graceland's grounds are home to a large barn that once housed horses. Still, the most unusual pet to roam the estate was Scatter, Presley's chimpanzee. By most accounts, the King's pet was a pain. The simian announced his presence with an ear-splitting "Woooo!" and delighted in pulling down women's skirts. Somehow, Scatter's ill behavior endeared him to Presley, who dressed him in elaborate costumes. A favorite joke was to drive around Memphis with Scatter in the front seat. At traffic lights, Presley would duck down, giving the appearance that the animal was driving the car. Eventually, Scatter's mischief became too much even for Presley, and he had to live in a climate-controlled room at Graceland.

04 of 10

The Game Room Is a Work of Art

The Pool Room At Graceland
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Presley borrowed the décor for his basement game room from a painting of an 18th-century billiards room. Designer Bill Eubanks ran with the idea, purchasing 350 yards of cotton fabric from a local custom furniture store. Workers labored for 10 days to bolt and pleat the material.

05 of 10

Elvis Watched Three TV Sets at Once

Elvis Presley's Graceland, Mansion, media room.
Stephen Saks/Getty

After reading that President Lyndon B. Johnson had three television sets to allow him to watch all three major network news programs at once, Presley borrowed the idea for his downstairs media room. He spent much time happily watching TV — unless Robert Goulet came on. Presley had an intense dislike of the musically inclined actor for reasons best known to him. Before the invention of remote controls, Presley found that shooting the television set with a pistol was the quickest way to get Goulet off the screen. "That jerk's got no heart!" he exclaimed. "That will be enough of that s---!"

06 of 10

The Boss Broke In!


Graceland hosted more than its fair share of guests during Presley's tenure, but one 1976 visitor was unannounced. On the cusp of worldwide superstardom, a young Bruce Springsteen took a cab to the gates of the estate late one April night with his E Street Band guitarist, Steven Van Zandt. Despite the hour, they noticed lights in the main house and hopped the fence, hoping to say hello to the King. Unfortunately, security guards stopped the pair before they reached the door. It was just as well because Presley was in Lake Tahoe at the time.

07 of 10

Elvis Turned the Jungle Room Into a Recording Studio

In The 'Jungle Room' At Graceland
Paul Natkin/Getty

In the mid-'60s, Presley added an enclosed den off the home's kitchen, which he would later fill with Tiki furniture and plants. The flagstone waterfall contributed to the tropical atmosphere, which led to it being dubbed "the Jungle Room" by many fans — though Presley never used the name.

In February 1976, RCA dispatched a mobile recording unit to Graceland and transformed the large room into a temporary recording studio (the shag carpeting acted as a natural sound absorber). The songs are believed to have been released from Elvis Presley Boulevard in Memphis, Tennessee. Another session would be held that October. It would prove to be the last before his death less than one year later. Four tracks featured from these dates were released on the posthumous album, Moody Blue.

08 of 10

Graceland Wasn't Elvis' First Final Resting Place

Elvis Presley's grave, Graceland, Elvis Presley Boulevard.
Ray Laskowitz/Getty

Among the many alterations Presley had made to Graceland over the years, perhaps the most meaningful was the so-called Meditation Garden — a secluded patch of plants and fountains cordoned off by white columns and a pergola that he had installed in 1964. In life, it was where he loved to sit and reflect, and in death, it serves as his final resting place — although that wasn't originally the plan.

On Aug. 18, 1977, two days after his death, Presley was buried next to his late mother, Gladys, at Memphis' Forest Hill Cemetery. However, an attempt was made to steal his 900-lb., steel-lined, copper-plated coffin and hold the remains for ransom. Three men were arrested, though the scheme was so flimsy that they could only be charged with trespassing in the cemetery. Fearing copycat criminals, Presley's body, as well as Gladys', was moved to Graceland. Today they are joined by his father Vernon and a monument to the singer's stillborn twin brother, Jessie, as well as the singer's grandson Benjamin and now, his daughter, Lisa Marie.

09 of 10

The Upstairs Remains Off Limits

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Presley's primary suite on the second floor of Graceland was his most private refuge, where only his closest confidants were allowed. It was there, in his bathroom, that Presley's body was found on Aug. 16, 1977. After the home was opened to the public in 1982, the second floor was sealed shut out of respect to the family — and also to avoid any macabre attention at the scene of his death.

Over the years, the upstairs at Graceland has taken on a mythical aura, with rumors that his suite remains untouched, just as the King left it. No authenticated quality photos have ever been released, and no one has been allowed in — aside from his former wife Priscilla, his late daughter Lisa Marie and the Graceland curator. Presidents and foreign dignitaries have all been turned away. Still, ironically one celebrity has made it inside: actor and noted Presley superfan Nicolas Cage, during his marriage to Lisa Marie in the early 2000s.

10 of 10

Graceland Is the Second-Most-Visited Home in America

Elvis Presley Enterprises To Be Sold
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Guests are still flocking to Graceland. The estate welcomes an average of more than 650,000 visitors a year, making it second only to the White House as the most-visited home in the United States.

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