Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Memphis Historic Houses Page 2
Elias Lowenstein was a leader in the Memphis Jewish community. He served as president of Temple Isreal for 15 years. He contributed liberally to rebuilding the city after the disastrous 1870's yellow fever epidemics. In 1891 Elias Lowenstein built a mansion which was Memphis' most important Victorian Romanesque residence and one of the finest of its styles in the South. After his death in 1919, his family donated it to the Nineteenth Century Club for use as a residence for young working women who did not have family in the city and, therefore, under social customs of the day were expected to live in a protected environment. A porch with cupola was removed in 1929 for construction of an annex.
Elias Lowenstein House - 1891: Elias Lowenstein, born in Germany, emigrated to Memphis in 1854. In Memphis he headed, B. Lowenstein and Bros. a Department Store, which was prominent in the city for 125 years. Lowenstein was a leader in the Jewish community and served as president of Temple Isreal for 15 years. He also contributed liberally to rebuilding the city after the disastrous 1870's yellow fever epidemics. In 1891 he built this mansion which is the cities most important Victorian Romanesque residence and one of the finest of its styles in the South. After his death in 1919, his family donated it to the Nineteenth Century Club for use as a residence for young working women who didn't have family in the city and, under social customs of the day, were expected to live in a protected environment.
Address: 208 Adams Avenue
Date Built: 1853
Patrick Hayley, House
Address: 604 Vance Avenue
Removed From National Registrar 7/21/1980
Address: 533 Beale Street
Date Built: 1830, 1855
Hunt-Phelan House - 1828: On Beale Street. Built for George Wyatt, a land surveyor, in the Federal brick style. Purchased in 1835 by Eli Driver who left it to his daughter Elizabeth Phelan who made additions in 1851, changing the style to Greek Revival. By the Civil War in 1862 the home was owned by William Hunt. His family was chased out and the building was occupied by Union Generals, including Ulysses S. Grant. During the Yellow Fever outbreaks, the home became a hospital. And after the Civil War, it even became a school for newly freed slaves. This antebellum mansion is now a Bed and Breakfast and a restaurant.
Mosby-Bennett House (Hunter-Lane House)
Address: 6256 Poplar Avenue
Date Built: 1852
Newburger, Joseph, House (Memphis Theological Seminary)
Address: 168 East Parkway
Date Built: 1912
JOSEPH NEWBERGER HOME: Corner of Union and Parkway. Newberger was president of the Newberger Cotton Co. In the 1970's the house was occupied by the Memphis Theological Seminary.
Paisley Hall (Galloway House)
Address: 1822 Overton Park Ave
Date Built: 1908-1910
GALLOWAY MANSION . Overton Park Avenue . Built 1910 . The Galloway is considered to be one of the best examples of early 20th century Greek Revival architecture in Memphis. Four massive limestone Ionic columns support a two-story front portico. Much of the interior was imported from Europe, including a marble fireplace with an elaborately carved French walnut mantle in the drawing room featuring life-sized figures. It sits on 1.15 acres of well-manicured grounds with glorious azaleas more than six feet tall. Elvis Presley was interested in Galloway prior to buying Graceland. The home was built by Robert Galloway, who was instrumental in getting the Memphis Zoo built. The Galloway mansion was sold at auction in 2003 and is now considered 'in danger'.
Interview With Jan Coleman Present Owner
MALLORY-NEELY HOUSE: Adams Avenue. Built as a one story in 1852 by Isaac Kirtland, president of an Insurance Co. Benjamin Babb purchased it in 1864 and added a second story. In 1883 he sold to James Neely who restyled the house and added a third story, as well as heightening the central tower. He also added window screens - the first in Memphis. After Neely's death, the 25 room home passed to his children. The surviving owner gave the house and its entire contents to the DAR to be preserved as a museum. It is now owned by the City of Memphis and was scheduled to reopen in 2011.
The Mallory–Neely House is a historic residence on 652 Adams Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee, USA. It is located in the Victorian Village district of Memphis.
Around 1852, the mansion was built in the Italianate style as an early Victorian villa . From 1852 until 1969, the mansion was home to the families of Isaac Kirtland, Benjamin Babb, James C. Neely, Daniel Grant and Barton Lee Mallory.
In the 1880's and 1890's, the house was extensively renovated. During the renovation, the original two and one half stories of the building were extended to three full stories and the tower of the building was enlarged. After the renovation, the house consisted of 25 rooms. The Neely family decorated the mansion in the Victorian style, with parquet flooring, ornamental plasterwork and ceiling stenceling.
In 1969, the last resident of the mansion, Daisy Neely-Mallory, died at age 98. According to her wish, the house was deeded to the Daughters, Sons, and Children of the American Revolution.
In 1972, the Victorian Village district of Memphis was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. And in 1973, the mansion was turned into a museum. The museum is operated by the City of Memphis and Museums Inc. since 1987 and part of the Pink Palace Family of Museums.
In 2005, the Mallory–Neely House was closed to the public due to funding problems of the City of Memphis.
"Mallory-Neely House in Memphis to Welcome Tourists Again". The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved 2012-11-02.
The Mallory-Neely House was reopened to VIPs with a special ceremony on Saturday November 4, 2012 It reopens to the general public on November 11, 2012. The house has been stabilized and re-roofed with slate tiles and full copper trim. The house has had numerous additions to make it accessible under ADA rules. As of November 4, 2012, the public will be admitted on Fridays and Saturdays only. A ramp now allows entry to the first floor. The second floor is accessible via a twenty minute video which can be seen in the carriage house which is also the ticket office.
W.B. Mallory Home
W. B. MALLORY HOME. Lamar Avenue. Built in 1890's. Mallory was a Confederate veteran from North Carolina, who moved to Memphis in 1869 and engaged in the insurance business.
Pink Palace Mansion
Clarence Saunders Home. Circa 1918. 1561 Peabody Avenue. It is said that this home had the first central vacuum system in Memphis and that many of the plan features were enlarged and used in the more famous Saunders home, now the Pink Palace Museum on Central. This home was also once the home of the Binswanger family of local stained glass fame.
The headquarters for the Pink Palace Family of Museums is covered in pink Georgian marble, and was given to the city of Memphis in the late 1920's because of financial troubles of its owner, Clarence Saunders, the founder of Piggly Wiggly. Saunders built the Pink Palace mansion as his own residence in 1923, but lost the home because of financial reversals on Wall Street. The Pink Palace Mansion opened as the Memphis Museum of Natural History and Industrial Arts in March 1930. The original exhibits featured stuffed animals and birds, dolls, anthropological items from local wealthy collectors and items related to Memphis' history, such as Confederate military uniforms and memorabilia.
CLARENCE SAUNDERS 'PINK PALACE' . On Central Avenue. Built 1922. Clarence Saunders started construction of this building for his grand home. It was incomplete when he lost his fortune and he never lived here. Developers gave the building to Memphis and it became the Municipal Museum in 1930.
Address: 850 Manassas Street
Date Built: 1856, 1875
Richards, Newton Copeland, House
Address: 975 Peabody Avenue
Date Built: C. 1890
Roulhac, Dr. Christopher M., House
Address: 810 Mclemore
Date Built: 1926-1953
Address: Lemoyne-Owen College Campus
Date Built: 1914
Address: 784 Poplar Avenue
Removed From National Registrar 1/17/1985
Toof, John S., House
Address: 246 Adams Avenue
Date Built: 1875
The Magevney House is a historic residence on 198 Adams Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee, USA. It is located in the Victorian Village of Memphis. It is one of the oldest residences remaining in Memphis.
In the 1830's, the Magevney House was built by Eugene Magevney as a clapboard cottage. Eugene Magevney was born in Ireland in 1798, immigrated to the United States in 1828 and settled in Memphis in 1833. He was a pioneer teacher and civic leader and died of Yellow Fever in 1873.
During the late 1830's and early 1840's, three important events in Memphis religious history took place in the cottage. In 1839, the first Catholic mass in Memphis was celebrated in the house. In 1840, the first Catholic marriage in Memphis was officiated at the residence. And in 1841, the first Catholic baptism was performed in Memphis at the Magevney homestead.
In 1941, the family of Eugene Magevney gave the property to the City of Memphis.
In 1973, the Magevney House was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Since 2005, the house and museum are closed to the public. A sign installed at the museum informs visitors that the property is closed to the public temporarily, due to the budget situation of the City of Memphis and that the house will re-open upon the availability of funding. The Magevney House is part of the Pink Palace Family of Museums.
Magevney House at 198 Adams, built in 1830s is one of the oldest residences in Memphis. Magevney was a pioneer teacher and civic leader and died of Yellow Fever in 1873. Three important events took place in this house: The first Catholic Mass ... the first Catholic Marriage in Memphis ... the first Catholic baptism performed in Memphis
Davies Manor is the oldest extant home in Shelby County, Tennessee, and possibly in West Tennessee. It is a two-story log and chink home made using white oak logs on what was once a plantation with a total of approximately 2,000 acres (8.1 km2).
The original maker of the Davies Manor is unknown although some sources note it as having been built by Native Americans in 1807. This legend likely came from the fact that a Native American trail did run nearby, and Dr. Julius Augustus Davies, one of the men who lived in the home, was an avid collector of Native American artifacts. In 1821, North Carolina granted 600 acres of land to Thomas Henderson in return for his Revolutionary War Service. In 1832, Henderson sold 320 acres of this land to Emmanuel Young, who allowed the taxes to lapse. It is likely that either Henderson or Young built the original one-room log cabin, which is now the parlor of the manor house.
Shelby County tax collector Joel W. Royster purchased the home in 1831 and, from that time until 1837, expanded the house from one room to two stories. A locater's deed shows the purchase of Shelby County land by William E. Davies in 1838, but the 1850 census lists Davies living with his family in Fayette County. It is generally accepted that William's two sons, Logan Early Davies (age 14) and James Baxter Davies (age 12), came to and from Fayette County on Stage Road (now part of Highway 64) to farm the land. In 1851, Logan and James bought the land with the house on it from Royster, creating what became known as Davies Plantation. At its heyday, the plantation was approximately 2,000 acres (8.1 km2). As many as 23 enslaved African-Americans lived on the property prior to the Civil War, during the days of American slavery.
Davies Family History
William Early Davies was the father of Logan and James Davies. His wife was Sarah Hadley, an accomplished quilter whose work is on display in the museum. Davies was a Methodist minister and grist mill operator. On November 11, 1824, Logan was born in Maury County, Tennessee. James was then born on June 9, 1826.
In 1854, James Baxter Davies (age 28) married Penelope Almeda Little (age 21). One year later, in 1855, Julius Augustus Davies was born. Two years later, in 1857, William Little Davies was born. In 1859, Penelope died at the age of 26, after five years of marriage. Logan Early Davies (age 36) married Frances Ina Vaughn Davies (age 19) in 1860. Gillie Mertis Davies was born a year later, on December 25, 1861. In 1863, Linnie Lee Davies was born. Frances Davies died in 1865 at the age of 24 after five years of marriage.
James Davies served in the 38th Tennessee Infantry from March 5, 1862 to May 1865. He then married Pauline Leake, the younger sister of Almeda, his first wife. They divorced after two years. It is widely accepted that James Davies suffered from some sort of post-traumatic stress disorder, which contributed to the divorce. On June 17, 1904 James Baxter Davies died, leaving 596 acres (2.41 km2), including Davies Manor, to his sons, Dr. Julius Augustus and Dr. William Little Davies (both bachelors).
Twenty years later, on December 21, 1924, Dr. Julius Augustus Davies died, leaving one-half undivided interest in Davies Manor to his brother, Dr. William Little Davies. Seven years after that, Dr. William Little Davies died, leaving 596 acres (2.41 km2), including Davies Manor, to his cousin, Ellen Davies-Rodgers who donated the house to the Davies Manor Association in 1976. The house is located in Bartlett, Tennessee, a suburb of Memphis. This area was formerly part of Brunswick, Tennessee, and is sometimes identified as part of a nearby settlement called Morning Sun, where a Civil War skirmish took place.
Property as a Historic Site
After Dr. William Little Davies bequeathed the home and land to his cousin, Ellen Davies-Rodgers, she began an extensive renovation and preservation project on the log home with the eventual goal of opening the home to the public for tours, with the help of the Zachariah Davies Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Ms. Davies added electricity to the home in the late 1950's and began hosting tours, meetings, parties, and events. Upon her 1994 death, the Davies Manor Association, Inc. took on the task of preserving and interpreting Davies Manor Plantation. Their mission "is to preserve and enhance Davies Manor Plantation as a portrayal of early Shelby County farm life for the education and enjoyment of visitors." The museum is currently open Tuesday through Saturday, 12:00 to 4:00. The tour consists of a short video, followed by a docent-led tour of the house. In 2011, museum staff added a self-led walking tour of the grounds to complement the tour of the log home.
Several outbuildings comprise the grounds of Davies Manor. Mose's Cabin is a small tenant cabin used to interpret the life of both slaves and tenant farmers on the plantation, and is named after Mose Frasier, a worker on the plantation in the late nineteenth and early to mid twentieth centuries. The Gotten Cabin is a 1948 structure built by a local family in the style and with the materials of the 1830's. The Liberty Cabin originated in Middle Tennessee and is built in the mid-Atlantic/ Pennsylvania style. Both cabins were moved to Davies Manor from Libertyland theme park in 2006.
Davies Manor was used as the setting for several scenes in the movie "One Came Home" (2010) directed by local film-maker Willy Bearden.
Davies Manor was given distinction as a Century Farm, or a Tennessee farm owned by the same family for over 100 years, until Ellen Davies-Rodger's death. It is recognized as a certified Backyard Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation, because of the extensive list of wildlife that makes the grounds of Davies Manor home. A pond to the rear of the property supports a variety of life, including fish, turtles, dragonflies, and frogs. The woods around the property also provide a home to various wildlife, including a pack of deer who can often be seen wandering the grounds.
Davies Manor Association, Inc. has teamed with the Memphis Area Master Gardeners to create a series of gardens, which help interpret pioneer and farm life. These include a kitchen garden, herb garden, and shade garden. In addition, the Master Gardeners cultivate a Plant a Row garden. Vegetables from this garden benefit Youth Villages.
Family and local legend suggests that a slight mound to the front of the home is an Indian mound. Archaeological research debunked this claim, however, as no evidence was ever uncovered during a recent dig on plantation grounds. This myth likely came from the true fact that Dr. Julius Augustus Davies was an avid collector of Indian artifacts and conducted several productive digs at his own plantation in Walls, Mississippi. An Indian trail likely did run near to Davies Manor Plantation because of its proximity to water, and Dr. Davies did find artifacts on the Brunswick property. Dr. Davies's collection is housed at Mississippi State University.
Official Davies Manor Website
"Davies Manor Association, Inc.". Retrieved 18 July 2012.
"Liberty Cabin". Davies Manor Association, Inc.. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
"Gotten Cabin". Davies Manor Association, Inc.. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
"Pond". Davies Manor Association, Inc.. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
GRACELAND MANSION . On Elvis Presley Blvd. Built 1939. The home of Elvis Presley. The original builder of the house was Stephen Toof , who named the property for his daughter, Grace. Presley purchased the home in 1957 and made many changes during the next 20 years he lived there. Today, more than 600,000 visitors make the pilgrimage to Graceland each year - making it the 2nd most visited home in the U.S - right after the White House.
Right side view of Graceland Mansion.
Graceland Farms was originally owned by S.C. Toof, founder of S.C. Toof & Co., a commercial printing firm in Memphis, who was previously the pressroom foreman of the Memphis newspaper, the Memphis Daily Appeal. The grounds were named after Toof's daughter, Grace, who inherited the farm. Soon after, the portion of the land designated as Graceland today was given to her nephews and niece. It was Grace Toof's niece, Ruth Moore, who, in 1939 together with her husband Dr. Thomas Moore, built the present American "colonial" style mansion.
Graceland is a large white-columned mansion and 13.8-acre (5.6 ha) estate that was home to Elvis Presley in Memphis, Tennessee. It is located at 3764 Elvis Presley Boulevard in the vast Whitehaven community about 9 miles (14.5 km) from Downtown and less than four miles (6 km) north of the Mississippi border. It currently serves as a museum. It was opened to the public on June 7, 1982. The site was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on November 7, 1991 and declared a National Historic Landmark on March 27, 2006. Graceland has become one of the most-visited private homes in America with over 600,000 visitors a year, behind the White House and Biltmore Estate (900,000 visitors per year).
Elvis Presley died at the estate on August 16, 1977. Presley, his parents Gladys and Vernon Presley, and his grandmother, are buried there in what is called the Meditation Garden. A memorial gravestone for Presley's twin brother, Jesse Garon, is also at the site.
Architecture and Modifications
The mansion is constructed of tan limestone and consists of twenty-three rooms, including eight bedrooms and bathrooms. The entrance way contains four Temple of the Winds columns and two large lions perched on both sides of the portico.
After purchasing the property Presley carried out extensive modifications to suit his needs and tastes, including: a fieldstone wall surrounding the grounds, a wrought-iron music-themed gate, a swimming pool, a racquetball court, and the famous "Jungle Room" which features an indoor waterfall, among other modifications. In February and October 1976, the Jungle Room was converted into a recording studio, where Presley recorded the bulk of his final two albums, From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee and Moody Blue; these were his final known recordings in a studio setting.
One of Presley's better known modifications was the addition of the Meditation Garden, where he, his parents Gladys and Vernon, and grandmother are buried. A small stone memorializes Elvis' twin brother Jesse Garon who died at birth. The Meditation Garden was opened to the public in 1978. Graceland was officially opened to the public on June 7, 1982.
According to critics such as Albert Goldman, "'nothing in the house is worth a dime." In chapter 1 of his book, Elvis (1981), the author describes Graceland as looking like a brothel: "it appears to have been lifted from some turn-of-the-century bordello down in the French Quarter of New Orleans." And he dismisses the interior as "gaudy," "garish" and "phony," adding that "King Elvis's obsession with royal red reaches an intensity that makes you gag." When "people who to a real degree shared Elvis Presley’s class background, and whose lives were formed by his music," visited the inside of Graceland, Greil Marcus says in similar terms, they "have returned with one word to describe what they saw: 'Tacky.' Tacky, garish, tasteless — words others translated as white trash." In Graceland: Going Home With Elvis, Karal Ann Marling deals with the decorative arts that makes Elvis' mansion seem a creation as well as a site. Graceland's "act of faith in serial novelty," Marling argues, synthesized the "intense concern for personal style" that made B. B. King notice a teenage Elvis in a pawnshop years before he was famous and the fashion sense informing the "theme clothes" of the '70's — "carapace[s] of sheer, radiant glory." However, during their four year relationship, Presley's girlfriend Linda Thompson decorated much of Graceland in her own style. Even Presley himself was said to "balk at the extent of her red fur and leopard skin look."
Graceland grew from 10,266 square feet (953.7 m2) when originally bought by Presley to 17,552 square feet (1,630.6 m2) today. Managers of the complex announced a major renovation project that will include a new visitors center, a 500-room convention hotel and high-tech museum displays. The current visitors center, souvenir shops, the 128-room Heartbreak Hotel, and museums will be torn down and replaced with the new facilities. The project will take approximately three years to complete.
After Elvis Presley began his career he bought a $40,000 home for himself and his family at 1034 Audubon Drive in Memphis. As his fame grew, especially after his appearances on television, the amount of fans that would congregate outside the home multiplied. Presley's neighbors, most of whom were happy to have a celebrity living nearby, soon came to find the constant gathering of fans and journalists a nuisance. After several complaints, Presley decided it was necessary for him to move to a property more suitable.
In early 1957, Presley gave his parents a $100,000 budget, and asked them to find a "farmhouse" type property to purchase. At the time, Graceland was located several miles beyond Memphis's main urban area. In later years Memphis would expand with housing, resulting in Graceland being surrounded by other properties. After Gladys died in 1958, and Vernon married Dee Stanley in 1960, the couple lived there for a time. Wife-to-be Priscilla Beaulieu also lived at Graceland for five years before she and Elvis married. After their marriage in Las Vegas on May 1, 1967, Priscilla lived in Graceland five more years until she separated from Presley in late 1972.
According to Mark Crispin Miller, Graceland became for Presley "the home of the organization that was himself, was tended by a large vague clan of Presleys and deputy Presleys, each squandering the vast gratuities which Elvis used to keep his whole world smiling." The author adds that Presley's father Vernon "had a swimming pool in his bedroom", that there "was a jukebox next to the swimming pool, containing Elvis' favorite records" and that the singer himself "would spend hours in his bedroom, watching his property on a closed-circuit television." Graceland was Lisa Marie Presley's first home after her birth on February 1, 1968 and her childhood home, although her main state of residence was California where she lived with her mother after she divorced Elvis when Lisa was in elementary school. Every year at Christmas time Lisa Marie Presley and all her family would go to Graceland to celebrate Christmas together. Lisa Marie Presley often goes back to Graceland for visits. When she turned 25, Lisa Marie Presley inherited the estate. In 2005 she sold 85 percent of it.
According to Brad Olsen, "Some of the rooms at Graceland testify to the brilliance and quirkiness of Elvis Presley." The TV room in the basement is where he often watched three television sets at once, and was within close reach of a wet bar."
The Jungle Room, Graceland
When he would tour, staying in hotels, "the rooms would be remodeled in advance of his arrival, so as to make the same configurations of space as he had at home – the Graceland mansion. His furniture would arrive, and he could unwind after his performances in surroundings which were completely familiar and comforting," the room in question, 'The Jungle Room' being "an example of particularly lurid kitsch."
The Meditation Garden, designed and built by architect Bernard Grenadier, has been noted as a preferred place of Presley in the property, where he often went to reflect on any problems or situations that arose during his life.
According to the singer's cousin, Billy Smith, Presley spent the night at Graceland with Smith and his wife Jo many times: "we were all three there talking for hours about everything in the world! Sometimes he would have a bad dream and come looking for me to talk to, and he would actually fall asleep in our bed with us."
There was some discord between Elvis and his stepmother Dee at Graceland, however, and Elaine Dundy said "that Vernon had settled down with Dee where Gladys had once reigned, while Dee herself - when Elvis was away - had taken over the role of mistress of Graceland so thoroughly as to rearrange the furniture and replace the very curtains that Gladys had approved of." This was too much for the singer who still loved his deceased mother. One afternoon, "a van arrived ... and all Dee's household's goods, clothes, 'improvements,' and her own menagerie of pets, were loaded on ... while Vernon, Dee and her three children went by car to a nearby house on Hermitage until they finally settled into a house on Dolan Drive which ran alongside Elvis' estate."
On August 16, 1977, Presley died in his bathroom at Graceland allegedly of a heart attack. However, there are conflicting reports as to the cause of his death. According to the well known Presley biographer Peter Guralnick, the singer "had thrown up after being stricken, apparently while seated on the toilet." The author adds that "drug use was heavily implicated in this unanticipated death of a middle-aged man with no known history of heart disease...no one ruled out the possibility of anaphylactic shock brought on by the codeine pills he had gotten from his dentist."
Presley made lists outlining items to be kept in Graceland at all times. Items included:
fresh, lean, unfrozen ground meat
one case regular Pepsi
one case orange drinks
rolls (hot rolls - Brown 'n' Serve)
at least 6 cans of biscuits
potatoes and onions
assorted fresh fruits
cans of sauerkraut
at least three bottles each of milk and Half and Half.
thin, lean bacon
fresh, hand-squeezed cold orange juice
banana pudding (to be made fresh nightly)
ingredients for meat loaf and sauce
brownies (to be made fresh nightly)
ice cream - vanilla and chocolate
1st floor, Graceland (not to scale)
2nd floor, Graceland (not to scale)
Basement, Graceland (not to scale)
National Historic Landmark
Designation of Graceland mansion as a National Historic Landmark in 2006
In early August 2005, Lisa Marie Presley sold 85% of the business side of her father's estate. She kept the Graceland property itself, as well as the bulk of the possessions found therein, and she turned over the management of Graceland to CKX, Inc., an entertainment company (on whose board of directors Priscilla Presley sits) that also owns 19 Entertainment, creator of the American Idol TV show.
The final resting place of Elvis Presley on the grounds at Graceland.
In February 2006, CKX Chairman Bob Sillerman announced plans to turn Graceland into an international tourist destination on a par with the Disney or Universal theme parks, sprucing up the area mansion and doubling or possibly tripling the 600,000 annual visitors to around 2 million a year. Sillerman’s goal is to enhance the "total fan experience" at Graceland to compel visitors to spend more time and money. The company is working with the Bob Weis, the recently named new CEO of Disney Imagineering based in Orlando, Florida, to improve the tourist area around Graceland, which is located in an economically depressed area of Memphis, while keeping intact the historic home. Graceland officials envision a 3-mile (4.8 km) strip of Elvis Presley Boulevard transformed into a beautiful entertainment district from East Brooks RD all the way down to East Shelby Drive. EPE has bought up over 120 acres (0.49 km2) of land both commercial and residential around the mansion both north and south, everything from apartment complexes, car dealership, a souvenir shop and even some houses in the area to make way for the expansion.
Sillerman, who has been speaking with investors and developers, plans to spend between $250 million to $500 million on redeveloping the area surrounding Graceland. Among his plans are a new luxury hotel of more than 500 rooms and a convention center, an amphitheater for live concerts, restaurants and retail, plus a new 80,000-square-foot (7,400 m2) visitor's center and museum adjacent to the Graceland mansion. 2009 was set as the target date to begin work on the project but first it has to be approved by the Memphis City Council.
While visitor numbers grew to around 700,000, by 2005, and partly due to the negative impact on US tourism of 9/11, visitor numbers at Graceland had reportedly declined to around 600,000 due to the rough surrounding neighborhood.
Graceland was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on November 7, 1991 and designated a National Historic Landmark on March 27, 2006 Graceland was the first site related to rock and roll to be entered in the National Register of Historic Places. The nomination was prepared and submitted by college student Jennifer Tucker of Memphis.
After Elvis Presley's death in 1977, Vernon Presley served as executor of his estate. Upon his death in 1979, he chose Priscilla to serve as the estate executor for Elvis' only child, Lisa Marie who was only 11. Graceland itself cost $500,000 a year in upkeep, and expenses had dwindled Elvis' and Priscilla's daughter Lisa Marie's inheritance to only $1 million. Taxes were due on the property, those and other expenses due came to over $500,000. Faced with having to sell Graceland, Priscilla examined other famous houses/museums, and hired a CEO, Jack Soden, to turn Graceland into a moneymaker. Graceland was opened to the public on June 7, 1982. Priscilla's gamble paid off, after only a month of opening Graceland's doors the estate made back all the money it had invested. Priscilla Presley became the chairwoman and president of Elvis Presley Enterprises, or EPE, stating at that time she would do so until Lisa Marie reached 21 years of age. The enterprise's fortunes soared and eventually the trust grew to be worth over $100 million.
While Graceland was open to tours from 1982, the last person to live in the house was Elvis' aunt Delta, on Elvis' invitation after her husband died. She lived in in the house until her death in 1993.
An annual procession through the estate and past Elvis' grave is held on the anniversary of his death. The largest gathering assembled on the 25th anniversary in 2002. One estimate was of 40,000 people in attendance, despite the heavy rain.
The 20th Anniversary in 1997 had the biggest crowd in Memphis for an Elvis Week. At this time several hundred media groups from around the world were present and the event gained its greatest media publicity as an estimated 50,000 fans visited the city.
For many of the hundreds of thousands of people who visit Graceland each year, the visit takes on a quasi-religious perspective. They may plan for years to journey to the home of the ‘King’ of rock and roll. On site, headphones narrate the salient events of Elvis’s life and introduce the relics that adorn the rooms and corridors. The rhetorical mode is hagiographic, celebrating the life of an extraordinary man, emphasizing his generosity, his kindness and good fellowship, how he was at once a poor boy who made good, an extraordinary musical talent, a sinner and substance abuser, and a religious man devoted to the Gospel and its music. At the meditation garden, containing Elvis’s grave, some visitors pray, kneel, or quietly sing one of Elvis’s favorite hymns. The brick wall that encloses the mansion's grounds is covered with graffiti that express an admiration for the singer as well as petitions for help and thanks for favors granted.
The Graceland grounds include a museum containing many Elvis artifacts, like some of his famous Vegas jumpsuits, awards, gold records, the Lisa Marie jetliner, and Elvis' extensive auto collection. Recently Sirius Satellite Radio installed an all-Elvis Presley channel on the grounds. The service's subscribers all over North America can hear Presley's music from Graceland around the clock. Two new attractions have been added, Private Presley and the `68 Special exhibits; these can be found across the street on the plaza. The fieldstone wall that Presley installed is still there, and has several years' worth of graffiti from visitors, who simply refer to it as "the wall".
Tours of the museums at Graceland are available, though no flash photography or video cameras are allowed inside. There is an audio tour of the Graceland mansion. The upper floor is not open to visitors out of respect for the Presley family and partially to avoid any improper focus on the bathroom which was the site of his death. The upper floor, which also contains Elvis' bedroom, has been untouched since the day Elvis died and is rarely seen by non-family members. Visitors park across the street, boarding shuttle buses to begin the tour of Graceland. Attendants issue headphones, and tourists are individually snapped by a souvenir photographer in front of a painted wall with Graceland's famous music gates. Tour buses drive across Elvis Presley Blvd. through the smallish Music gates. Down the long winding drive the bus stops in front of stone lions that stand watch at the wide red brick front steps. It was behind these lions that over 3500 of Elvis' mourning fans passed by to see his body in its casket. The house is much bigger than expected, photos being of the main part only. A tour guide stands at the closed doors to give a brief history of Graceland starting with the woman (Grace) it was named for and concluding with the fact that Elvis bought Graceland when he was only 22 years old. Finally the door opens to allow entry through the front door where, almost directly overhead, perhaps forever unseen by the public, is where Elvis died, on his bathroom floor.
The Living Room, Graceland
"The first shock an Elvis fan experiences upon visiting Graceland is that the mansion is only barely set back from the road" and that through its gates one can see a shopping center. Upon entering Graceland, the white staircase, filled with reflective mirrors, is directly in front. To the right is the Living Room with the adjoining Music Room, the first room to be presented on the tour. There are guard rails up prohibiting entry to the Living Room and only part of the Music Room can be seen, hidden behind a doorway framed by vivid large peacocks set in stained glass. In this doorway, in front of the stained glass, Elvis' casket was placed for the funeral held in his home. Visible in the Music Room is a black baby grand piano and an old 1950s style TV. The Living Room contains a 15-foot-long (4.6 m) white sofa against the wall overlooking Graceland's front yard. To the left is a white fireplace. The painting that was Elvis' last Christmas present from his father, Vernon, hangs in this room. Also displayed are photographs of Elvis' parents Vernon and Gladys, Elvis and Lisa Marie. These rooms are then followed with a walk past the grand staircase to Elvis' parents' room.
In Elvis' parents' bedroom, white is the predominant color. A velvet-looking dark purple bedspread drapes onto the floor at the foot of the queen size bed. The walls, dresser, bed and carpet are bright white, protected from visitors by a guard rail. To the right is the closet, sealed with clear glass showing four or five of the dresses Gladys wore. To the left is a pink full bathroom, almost obscured from sight because of a velvet rope barrier.
Elvis' Lockheed Jetstar on display near Graceland.
Next, the tour takes you into the dining room and the kitchen (which was not open to the public until 1995, as Elvis' aunt Delta used it until her death in 1993) and continues through the basement, where Elvis' media room with its three televisions can be seen. There is also a bar and billiards room. The tour continues upstairs again, through the famous Jungle Room. After the Jungle room, it exits to the backyard, past Lisa Marie's childhood swing set, to a small white building that served as his father's office. Through the office there is a small room containing a scale model of the home where he was born in Tupelo, Mississippi. Elvis' shooting range is housed in what used to be an old smokehouse. Down the sloping lawn, past horses grazing behind neat white fences, visitors enter the "Trophy Room". Originally this space was a sidewalk behind the house that Elvis had enclosed to store his many items of appreciation. Just inside is Elvis' famous gold lamé suit from his early years.
In the Trophy Room many walls display records, movie posters, old time memorabilia of lipstick and shoes, even a 1950's Elvis doll. Among items there are the three Grammys Elvis won, Priscilla's wedding dress, Elvis' wedding tuxedo, Lisa Marie's toy chest and baby clothes and the famous hall of Elvis' gold records and awards. The Trophy Room then winds down the halls through a display of his 68 Comeback, featuring his leather suit, his personal copies of his movie scripts, costumes he wore in many of his movies and a few of his trademark jumpsuits. Also in this room are all the awards and distinctions Elvis received and a display of the many canceled checks Elvis wrote to various charities.
Elvis Presley's Convair 880, "Lisa Marie", named after his daughter
Once again outside, the tour moves past his still fully functioning stable of horses. Elvis' Racquetball Court is next, now housing a display of Elvis' sequined "jumpsuits". The entrance is reminiscent of entering an old country club, expertly built and expensively furnished in dark leather on the numerous bar chairs and sofas. A fully functional bar is on the right. To the left is a sunken sitting area with the ever present stereo system found throughout Graceland. There is also the dark brown upright piano upon which Elvis played for what were to be his last songs, Willie Nelson's Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain and The Righteous Brothers' "Unchained Melody". Reports conflict about which one was the last song. The sitting area has a floor to ceiling shatter proof window designed to watch the many racquetball games that took place here when Elvis was alive. In the early hours of the morning Elvis died he, his girlfriend Ginger Alden, his first cousin Billy Smith and Billy's wife Jo played a game of racquetball ending the game with the song on the piano before Elvis walked into the main house to wash his hair and go to bed. Today the court has been converted into displays of the majority of Elvis' stage costumes. More costumes are on display across the street in the "Sincerely Elvis" area. Many old vinyl records are hanging in the two story court, including numerous posthumous awards. Big screen TVs are scattered throughout Graceland. In the racquetball court Elvis' movies and recordings of his Las Vegas concerts play continually. Elvis had the swimming pool built after moving to Graceland.
Just past the pool area is the Meditation Garden where Elvis, his mother Gladys, his father Vernon and grandmother Minnie Mae Hood Presley lie buried. A separate building across the street houses a car collection, which includes Elvis' Pink Cadillac and not far away his two planes Lisa Marie (a Convair 880) and Hound Dog II (a Lockheed JetStar) are on display.
History of Graceland With Home Movies and Pictures
CLANO HALL. Central Avenue. Built in 1853. This is the oldest house on Central Avenue, and was once used as Union Headquarters during the Civil War. It was originally an all clapboard house. The brick facade was added about 1925. The name Clanlo comes form the first two letters of each of the names of three sisters who lived there after 1954 - Claire, Ann, Lois. Original photos of the house show a wooden plantation style house with a tin roof and six columns with Ionic Capitals. The house also had four double-flue chimneys that were used to heat the four public rooms downstairs and the four bedrooms upstairs. The kitchen, typical for the times, was a separate building at the rear of the house. There were other outbuildings as well, suggesting that this was a working plantation.
Circa 1853. 1616 Central Avenue. The oldest house on Central Avenue, once used as a Yankee headquarters was originally all clapboard. The brick façade was added about 1925. The name Clanlo comes from the first two letters of each of the names of three sisters who lived there after 1954. Claire, Ann, Lois.
Ashler Hall - 1896: On Central Avenue. Designed by Brinkley Snowden who graduated from Princeton in 1890. The name comes from the term 'ashler' used to describe squared, hewn stone. The house came to be owned by Holiday Inn Corporation. Next it became a fine restaurant. And then it was sold to Prince Mongo, an eccentric Memphis Millionaire. He has moved on. Now the property is for sale again, sitting vacant, in a sad state of decay.
Circa 1896. 1395 Central Avenue. This home was designed and built by Brinkley Snowden who graduated in architecture from Pinceton in 1890. The name comes from the term "ashler" used to describe squared, hewn stone.
The Hunt-Phelan House.
Circa 1830 with façade additions in 1851. 533 Beale Streeet. Go enjoy a fine meal at the Inn at Hunt Phelan as this antebellum mansion is now used as an inn and restaurant. The original home was built for a land surveyor in the Federal brick style and the 1851 addition of the Greek Revival style portico really "spiffed it up". There is a lot of Civil War history in this place including its use as a hospital in 1863.
1865 . This rare photo shows the Hunt-Phelan property being used as a soldier's home after the Civil War.
Circa 1855. 1325 Lamar Avenue. Originally built by a wholesale druggist from Maryland, Annesdale has been home to the same family for at least 7 generations since 1869. It is Italian Villa in style built with bricks made on the sitewith a four story tower overlooking the present seven and a half acre park-like setting.
Known as Beverly Hall and also Greenwood. On Central Av . Built 1904. This is the earliest example of Colonial Revival Architecture in Memphis.
Cira 1906. 1560 Central. Once named "Greenwood", the land this home sits on was once a part of the Clanlo property. Designed by a Louisville, Kentucky architect, W.J. Dodd and the local firm of Jones and Furbringer it is the earliest example of Colonial Revival Architecture in Memphis and the precursor of the Galloway Mansion.
The Rozell House.
The descendants of Solomon Rozelle built this house on Harbert Street in 1853 and it's a gracious reminder of earlier times. Rozelle was a true pioneer of Shelby County and among the first white settlers in the area. The house is built of yellow poplar siding and tapered shingles. There are six gables, the two largest forming the front of the house.
Circa 1853. 1737 Harbert Avenue. This six gabled home is built of yellow poplar and tapered shingles by one of the families that donated land to build and support First Methodist Church. It sits on one of the highest elevations in this part of town. This family also donated land from their acerage for right-of-way for the first railroad that came to Memphis.
John Martin House
D.T. Porter House
D. T. PORTER Home. Vance and Orleans. Built 1895 in French Renaissance style. Porter was a former druggist who became a grocer and commission merchant. As a memorial, his family bought the D. T. Porter Building.
Hillcrest - 1907
HILLCREST . On Peabody . Built in 1907, it's a limestone mansion with perfect symmetry designed by Jones and Furbringer. It was originally owned by two widows, Mrs. Walter Goodman and her daughter Mrs. John Richardson.
John Overton Jr. House
JOHN OVERTON, Jr HOME: Corner of Bellevue and Union. Overton was a descendant of one of Memphis's founders. The site of this home became the Methodist Hospital in 1918.
W.R. Harris House
WILLIAM ROLAND HARRIS HOME: Central Avenue. Built in 1853. Harris was a Tennessee Supreme Court Justice and the brother of Tennessee Governor Isham G. Harris. When the Civil War ended he fled to Mexico and began a movement to found a new South. Eventually he returned and became a model citizen, being elected U.S. Senator in 1877. In 1953 the home was purchased by the Schwamm family where their daughters maintain a formal boxwood garden at the spot on its lawn where Nathan B. Forrest's men rendezvoused to plan raids into Mississippi.
Robert Church's Mansion
ROBERT R. CHURCH HOME . On Lauderdale . Robert Church was the south's first black millionaire and he and his family lived well in this beautiful mansion.
Robertson Topp House
ROBERTSON TOPP HOME . On Beale - Built in 1841. Robertson Topp was one of the builders of Memphis and certainly one of the most devoted and faithful citizens. He was the builder of Beale Street and the Gayoso Hotel.
William Miller House
WILLIAM E. MILLER HOME: Germantown. Circa 1916. Miller farmed, owned a pharmacy, and was postmaster from 1872 to 1878.
Henry Montgomery House
MONTGOMERY HOME. Corner of Poplar and Montgomery. Built in the 1860's. Montgomery owned a telegraph service and had laid the first telegraph cable across the Mississippi. His home was the site of many lavish parties, including a reception in 1882 for Oscar Wilde, who had lectured to 600 Memphians at Lubrie's Theater. Montgomery was also the founder of Montgomery Park. The home was demolished to provide additional space when Memphis Technical High School was built in 1928.
Watkins Overton House
WATKINS OVERTON HOME. Union Avenue Overton was elected to the Tennessee State Legislature in 1925, the Senate in 1927, and was Mayor of Memphis from 1928 to 1940, and again from 1948 to 1952. This home was demolished in 1918.
Dunscomb House - c. 1844
DUNSCOMB HOUSE, 584 S. Front. Built in circa 1844 and nicknamed 'The little Greek house'. Owned by plantation owner Hugh R. Austin. This Greek Revival house was considered one of the 5 best examples of Memphis architecture. Of course, it's now been demolished.
William Bell House
WILLIAM BELL HOME. circa 1890's. Corner of Bellevue and Union. The house was demolished to make way for the Methodist Hospital.
Gilbert Raine House
GILBERT D. RAINE HOME. Union and McNeil. Circa 1890's. Gilbert started in insurance as a clerk and before long he was representative of several national insurance companies doing the largest insurance business in the South. In 1889 he and others formed the Memphis Daily Commercial, The Memphis Appeal, and The Avalanche which were eventually consolidated to form The Commercial Appeal.
Van Fleet Mansion
VAN VLEET MANSION . Poplar Avenue . Built C. 1856 by Q. C. Atkinson and sold to Clarence Hunt, who later sold the property to W. A. Williams. Mr. William's hobby was gardening and it's said he had the most beautiful garden of any place in Memphis. He later sold the property to Peter P. Van Vleet - a wealthy wholesale druggist. The home had been changed little until the Van Vleet family moved there. They added a large ballroom and totally renovated the rest of the house. To make way for the new Tech School building, the Board of Education acquired the old Van Vleet Mansion and 20 acres in 1926 for $90,000. Architectural elements of the old mansion were retained for the new school, in particular the classic four front columns and portico. On an adjoining lot fronting Montgomery Street, Henry Montgomery had built his home. It also was demolished to build the new Tech School.
CARIMI HOUSE . Vance-Pontotoc . Built in 1895 by Italian immigrants Frank and Santina Carimi. The house has 20 foot ceilings, thick plaster walls, white tile fireplaces and 10 foot door frames. At one time the Vance-Pontotoc district was almost grander than Victorian Village (Adams). For almost a hundred years the Carimis flourished , but in 1980 Frank, Jr was murdered. His spinster sisters were left on their own. In 2010, Jeannie, the last one, died. The fate of the home is unknown at this time.
Fisk Collinswood House
Frank Jones Home/Southern Funeral Home
FRANK G. JONES HOME - Vance Avenue. Circa 1890's. Jones was vice-prsident of the Memphis Street Railway Co. In the 1970's this home was occupied by the Southern funeral Home.
James Lee's 1st Home
Littleton-Pettit Home . On Beale . Built in 1848.
Hilderbrande Home - on Airways. Originally constructed in 1850.
Fargason Mansion . Lamar Av . Built in 1915. Fargason grew wealthy as a wholesale grocer - lived and entertained here for 30 years. Sold in mid 30's and later became a Fraternity House. That started the home's decline. It was demolished in 1960 for a Howard Johnson Hotel, which has also now been demolished.
Wright Carriage House
Wright Carriage House . Jefferson . Built in the 1840's as a farmhouse and later converted to a Carriage House. It has now been beautifully restored.
The two story brick Mette townhouse was designed by M. H. Baldwin and E. C. Jones in 1872. The brick is laid in 'English Garden Wall' patterns, which was new in Memphis at the time. The house was built for Herman Henry Mette, a German from Illinois, who was a grocer and bank director. In 1968 the home was extensively renovated and a wing was added at the back. It's now Law Offices.
Jefferson Davis House
Jefferson Davis lived in this house at 129 Court Avenue from 1867-78 during the period his family lived in Memphis while he was president of an Insurance Company. The wedding and reception of the Davis daughter was held at the house. The building was demolished after 1930.
PILLOW-McINTYRE HOUSE: Adams Avenue. Built in 1852 in a restrained Greek-Revival style, this house is in contrast to the nearby ornate Victorians. The builder was C.G. Richardson. After the Civil War it was purchased by General Gideon Pillow. After his death it was sold to Peter McIntyre in 1878. Peter's daughter Florence McIntryre inherited the house and in 1942 it became the Memphis Art Association's Free School. Forence was a first-rate painter and was known as the First Lady of Memphis Art, and the first director of the Brooks Art Museum. The house has been preserved and restored. At various times it has been occupied by an interior decorator and currently by Law Offices.
Heartwood Hall - Raleigh
Lowenstein-Long home on Waldran just off Popular Av.
Posted by Palmer at 4:15 PM