Graceland Mansion (1939)

Location: Memphis, Tennessee.

The Colonial Revival Graceland Mansion was home to rock star Elvis Presley from 1957 until his death on August 16, 1977. Today it is a National Historic Landmark and the most popular tourist attraction in Memphis, Tennessee.

Graceland perches on a hilltop in Whitehaven, a suburb 8 miles from downtown Memphis, Tennessee. During the Civil War, the land was part of a 500-acre farm. The house is a Colonial Revival built in 1939 by Dr. Thomas and Ruth Moore who named it “Graceland” in honor of a family member. The house was used by the Christian Church during the 1950s, and in 1957 Elvis Presley purchased it from the YMCA for just under $102,500.

Soon after purchasing Graceland, Elvis Presley began remodeling and redecorating. He added a racquetball court, a pink Alabama fieldstone wall, and wrought iron gates shaped like giant guitars. The house grew from 10,266 square feet to 17,552 square feet as Elvis Presley added more and more rooms.

Graceland also grew more colorful during Elvis Presley’s ownership. Presley had the limestone exterior painted blue and gold, and he changed the interior color schemes many times. At the time of Presley’s death in 1977, the dominant color was red: red walls, red draperies, red carpets.

Graceland Mansion is often mocked for its flashy and often tacky interior decor. But, because of Elvis Presley’s importance as a popular American musician, the house was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2006.
It was turned into a museum after Elvis Presley’s death, and today it is the second-most visited home in America behind the White House. Recently the entertainment company CKX paid $114 million to purchase the estate.

Unusual Buildings