In 1957 when Elvis Presley’s fame began to peak and he and his family’s privacy was becoming non-existent, he gave his parents $100,000 to find a farmhouse with a little more privacy for them to live. They had put down money on it and after viewing the property for himself, Elvis fell in love immediately with Graceland.
“The Meditation Garden” was added, complete with a fountain in the middle of it. It was a place where the King sat and contemplated on his complicated life. Needless to say, he had quite a few stresses in his life and it was here that he came to think about them, discuss them and it is also here that he was ultimately buried along with his mother, father and there is also an epitaph memorializing his twin.
After his death, Vernon had turned over the reigns to Presley’s estate to Elvis’ ex-wife Priscilla, who was wrought with the choice to sell the estate because of dwindling funds and owed taxes on the property. She instead opened Graceland up for tourism on June 7, 1982. The funds from the first year alone helped catch up on past bills and jettisoned the life of Graceland as a tourist hotspot, a pilgrimage for Elvis fans and a historic site and museum.
Elvis’ daughter, Lisa Marie, is sole owner of the mansion and the property within the estate. She sold 85 percent of the business side of her father’s estate to CKX, Inc. where her mother sits on the board.
Graceland Tours now include a souvenir shop, auto museum, upscale hotel, restaurant and amphitheatre. Upcoming projects for Graceland include more museums, a concert venue and transforming the seedy surrounding neighborhood into an entertainment district.