Since Graceland first opened to the public in June 1982 – almost five years after Elvis Presley’s death – the Memphis mansion has become a sort of pilgrimage site for Elvis’ fans. Since after his death in 1977, his only child Lisa Marie has been the owner of Graceland.
While there’s so much lore surrounding Graceland, there are still some things that people would like to know about it. When did Elvis purchase Graceland? How did Graceland get its name? If you’ve been pestered by your kids or anyone else with such questions and a lot more, it helps to read this article to learn fun facts about the King’s mansion.
1) When did Elvis Presley buy Graceland, and for how much?
Elvis bought the 13.8-acre Graceland on March 19, 1957 for $102,500 (around $974,000 in today’s money).
A few months prior to that, he gave his parents a budget of $100,000, asking them to find a “farmhouse”-like property to purchase. He was only 22 years old at the time. At the time, Graceland was located several miles from Memphis’ city proper. But as Memphis expanded in later years, Graceland became surrounded by other properties.
When Presley bought Graceland, the property was just short of 14 acres and just over 10,000 square feet. Today, the Graceland mansion occupies more than 17,500 feet.
2) The origin of the name “Graceland”
Before the Graceland mansion was built in 1939, the land belonged to the Toof family. The family’s head, Stephen C. Toof, was a 19th-century businessman who ran a printing business. HE named the plot “Graceland” after his daughter, Grace Toof Ward.
Grace herself inherited the plot from her father in 1894. Following her death, the property was passed down to her niece, Ruth Moore, and her husband, Thomas Moore. The couple later built a stately Colonial Revival-style mansion there in 1939, which they also named Graceland.
The Moores divorced in 1952. Ruth sold the mansion and its surrounding land to a young Elvis Presley in March 1957.
3) What was in Graceland’s kitchen?
Elvis is known for his love of peanut butter and banana sandwich. But also less known is his love for other foods.
When he was still alive, Graceland’s carpeted kitchen was well-stocked with specific food items. They included fresh banana pudding, ingredients for meatloaf, brownies, fudge cookies, hot dogs, ground round steak, biscuits, and Doublemint gums, among many others.
4) Graceland’s “off-limit” areas
Visitors are forbidden to go upstairs. It is a restricted area where Elvis found privacy and solace from the outside world. Only Elvis’s family members and Graceland staff are allowed to go there. The staff members maintain the upstairs area in the way that Elvis’ daughter and only child, Lisa Marie, wants them to preserve it.
5) Bruce Springsteen once snuck onto Graceland
Bruce Springsteen was one of those people who trespassed onto Graceland in hopes of meeting the King. He dared to do that so in 1976 – once he stepped onto the property, Springsteen scaled a stone wall and reached as far as the main door when security stopped him. Unfortunately, Springsteen was told that Elvis was out of town.
6) Elvis’ two airplanes in Graceland
When Elvis was alive, he owned five airplanes, and two of them can be visited on Graceland grounds. The two airplanes are named Hound Dog I and Hound Dog II.
The Hound Dog I was a Convair 880 that Elvis bought in 1975. He later had it fitted with the main bedroom, two half-bathrooms, a sitting, a conference room, and sound system, and lots of luxurious furniture. He also named the plane “Lisa Marie” after his daughter.
7) Elvis’ grave at Graceland
There were several attempts made to steal Elvis Presley’s remains from Forest Hill Cemetery. Because of that, a decision was made to move his body, along with his mother Gladys’s, to Graceland’s Meditation Garden in 1977.
At the Meditation Garden, which is just right next to the mansion, fans would visit there to kneel, pray, pay respects or quietly sing some of Elvis’ favorite songs.
8) Elvis’s aunt still lived at Graceland, even after it was converted into a museum
By the 1980s, both of Elvis’s parents had passed away. Elvis’s aunt (his father’s sister) Delta had moved to the downstairs bedroom, where his parents used to occupy.
When Graceland opened to the public as a museum, Delta’s bedroom was simply left off the tour. But a year after her death in 1993, her bedroom was added to the tour.