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Touring Tupelo: Stop at Elvis Presley’s birthplace worth the visit


You’ve heard of Memphis. You’ve heard of and probably been to Graceland if you are an Elvis Presley fan. I’ve been to Graceland and signed the wall, but had never been to Presley’s birthplace until last week.

During a trip to Oxford, Mississippi, my wife Rhonda and I visited Elvis Presley’s hometown of Tupelo, Mississippi on the drive back from covering the Kentucky-Ole Miss game. We loved the town and especially touring Presley’s birth home and the church where he learned to play guitar and sing, which later led to a distinguished career in the music field.

 Elvis Presley was born in this small two bedroom home in Tupelo, Miss. On Jan. 8, 1935 (Keith Taylor Photo)

Elvis Presley was born in this small two bedroom home in Tupelo, Miss. On Jan. 8, 1935 (Keith Taylor Photo)

Elvis Presley learned to play and sing in this Assembly of God church near his home in Tupelo, Miss. (Keith Taylor Photo)

Elvis Presley learned to play and sing in this Assembly of God church near his home in Tupelo, Miss. His pastor taught him to play the guitar (Keith Taylor Photo)

The kitchen where Elvis ate many meals as a child (Keith Taylor Photo) >/em>

The kitchen where Elvis ate many meals as a child in his small-town home in Tupelo, Miss. (Keith Taylor Photo)

The small two-room house where Elvis was born was built for $180 by his father Vernon Presley and the family later attended the Assembly of God church down the road. The highlight of the tour was sitting in a reproduced church service, a video and audio presentation that made it feel like a church meeting from the 1940s. The property also has a small museum and a theatre. A documentary paints a picture of the family’s humble beginnings in Tupelo to the move to Memphis.

Once he became a superstar, Elvis bought the property where he was born and tours began in the early 1970s. Many upgrades have taken place in the past four decades, but the small-town feel remains.

The museum also has a store where you can purchase merchandise and other memorabilia. Like Graceland, Rhonda and I were impressed by what the tour had to offer and the cost was $17 per person, which is not bad considering the history behind the property and the place Elvis called home from birth up until his early teenage years.

The next time you’re in the area, it’s worth your time to visit the place where the King of Rock and Roll was born. A small humble beginning helped establish a music icon, who helped reshape the musical landscape in America.


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2 Comments

  1. Guillermo Perez Arguello says:

    Wonderful article. Moreover, consider the following. A two room home in the poorest state of the Union in 1935, with no bathroom facilities but a shared outhouse. In square feet it is 4 square feet smaller than another notable home in the most rural of areas in a British protectorate like Jamaica was, in 1945, the birthplace of a Presley admirer, the late Bob Marley. The entire Tupelo home, in fact, together with the outhouse, could fit in the rear section of the the bigger of the two Presley’s aircraft currently exhibited at the Graceland compound. It is of the essence to tour the Tupelo home first, then drive the 90 miles to memphis, as it will make it clear why was Preskey’s pilgrimage the most extensivee and extraordinary of those of any entertainer in the XXth century. While there have been a few individuals in this and the preceeding century who reached his ultra celebrity mega status, none was born in that level of poverty.

  2. Guillermo Perez Arguello says:

    Wonderful article. Moreover, consider the following. A two room home in the poorest state of the Union in 1935, with no bathroom facilities but a shared outhouse. Size-wise it is 4 square feet smaller than another notable home in the most rural of areas in a British protectorate like Jamaica was, in 1945, the birthplace of a Presley admirer, the late Bob Marley. The entire Tupelo home, in fact, together with the outhouse, could fit in the rear section of the bigger of the two Presley’s aircraft currently exhibited at the Graceland compound. It is of the essence to tour the Tupelo home first, then drive the 90 miles to Memphis, as it will make it clear why was Presley’s pilgrimage the most extensive and extraordinary of those of any entertainer in the XXth century. While there have been a few individuals in this and the preceeding century who reached his ultra celebrity mega status, none was born in that level of poverty.

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