Day 20-23 Memphis, Tennessee   2 comments

Departing Graceland RV Park, we visited Elvis’ 1st “big” home. He paid $40,000 for it. It’s been sold 2 times over (the last time, just shy of $1 million) and each new buyer kept the inside in the same “retro” style that it was when Elvis lived there.

We stopped at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Center/Hospital but were not allowed to tour the inside. There was a special celebration for the children going on.

I’ve always admired Danny Thomas and helped raise money for St. Jude’s when I was growing up. It was great to actually see the building

And the peaceful garden where he and his wife, Rose Marie, are buried.

At 11 a.m. every day, the “Peabody Ducks” are brought from the hotel penthouse

Down the elevator to the lobby where they swim in the fountain until 5 p.m., when they are taken back up to the penthouse.

The anticipation of everyone waiting the ducks is quite a sight.

Before lunch, we stopped at the Tom Lee (1885-1952) Park along the Mississippi River. In 1925, Lee witnessed a steamboat capsizing in the swift current. Although he could not swim, he rescued 32 people in his 28 ft. skiff. Because of his efforts only 23 people died.

And we passed by the Lorraine Hotel, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed as he stood on the balcony in 1968.

After lunching at one of Elvis’s favorite places (his booth was filled as always), we visited Beale Street, quite the street in its heyday from the 1890s through to the 1960s; where General Ulysses S. Grant had a Civil War headquarters and returned years late to speak as President; where President Dwight Eisenhower visited; where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. marched, where BB King and Elvis Presley got their starts.

Visiting the famous Beale Street

Where we saw “flippers”

 

 

 

Speaking of where Elvis got his start, we visited Sun Studios.

If it weren’t for Sam Phillips’ secretary, Marion Keisker, who took a liking to Elvis,

We may never have known Elvis…… Sam was not really that impressed with Elvis, but he hired him at Marion’s insistence. In 1955, he sold Elvis’ contract to RCA for $35,000. Not that smart a man in my opinion.

In 1954, Dewey Philips played Elvis’ record “That’s All Right” for the first time, and spinning the record another dozen times that day, it became an instant hit. He called Elvis in for an interview and – YOU KNOW the rest of the story!

The studio is still set up exactly as it was when Elvis cut his records; even the X on the floor where he was to stand while singing.

Everyone wanted a chance to “croon” on the same mike used by Elvis.

Our guide pointed out the burn hole in the piano keys. Jerry Lee Lewis put his cigar out!!!!!!!

Our next day of touring, we visited Graceland. We just walked across the RV Park, through the parking lot, and we were there!

Elvis bought Graceland, approximately 10,000 square ft. house on 13 acres, for about $100,000 in 1957.

His parents had a bedroom on the first floor.

On to the “Trophy Room”

Priscilla’s and Elvis’ wedding attire.

There were so many of his outfits on display.

Including the dress Priscilla wore to Elvis’ funeral.

Two suits in particular stood out: The Black Gypsy Suit worn by Elvis in Las Vegas in 1975, one of the few suits he wore for two different engagements

And the Black Diamond Suit, which he wore the summer of 1971 in Las Vegas, only one of a few that he wore in Las Vegas and not while he was out on tour.

And of course the “Gold Belt.”

This belt was presented to Elvis after breaking all attendance records in L.V. history during his 57 sold out concerts at the International Hotel. It is silver with a gold overlay and features diamonds, rubies and sapphires. Elvis loved this belt and wore it both on and off stage.

Upon leaving the house, we found ourselves in the Meditation Garden. This garden was one of Elvis’ favorite places. His father, Vernon, received special permission to have the gravesites of Elvis and his mother, Gladys, moved from Forest Hill Cemetery to Graceland Oct. 1977.

It is now the final resting place of his father and grandmother, as well as a marker for his twin brother, who was stillborn.

Before leaving Graceland, we visited his car museum

Above left is Elvis’ infamous “pink Cadillac” which he referred to as “Gladys’ car.” Bottom left is pictured a Stutz Blackhawk which rumor has it that it was originally ordered for Frank Sinatra, but Elvis charmed it away from the car dealer. It was the first-ever Stutz Blackhawk to be delivered to the United States. This car has been totally restored because a hired driver totaled it in 1971.

And his airplanes.

There were 2 planes.

We learned so much about Elvis. WHAT A FABULOUS TOUR!

Now if you “just have to have” an Elvis outfit, it can be purchased in the gift shop for approximately $2,500.

Prior to settling in for the evening, we celebrated with a margarita party.

 

Our last stop in Memphis is the Mud Island Mississippi River Museum. The museum is comprised of 18 galleries that showcase 10,000 years of history in the Lower Mississippi River Valley. The exhibits detail early inhabitants in the valley to modern day transportation and contain over 5,000 artifacts; including two full size boat replicas which you can board and explore.

The River Walk is one of the most unique representations of the Mississippi River in the world.

On our way back to the RV Park many of us stopped at Central BBQ for the best ribs in town!

 

Oh, I almost forgot!  I got so entralled with Graceland that I forgot to mention the bus driver we had on our Memphis City tour.  Her name was Carolyn Hatfield

DSC_3041

and yes, her husband is a “real” Hatfield.  AND he was raised in Huntington, West Virginia, the same town Bill is from and Bill is also a related to the Hatfields.  Bill is also related to the McCoys and so is Carolyn’s husband!  WHAT A SMALL WORLD.

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2 responses to “Day 20-23 Memphis, Tennessee

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  1. Great pictures and commentary. We had a great time, that museum was awesome!

  2. It was DEFINITELY an awesome museum!

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