Secret Graceland: Facts even Elvis fans don’t know

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Elvis Presley remains in the public consciousness to this day, even 45 years after his death.

Die-hard fans often make the pilgrimage to Elvis’ former estate, Graceland, but how much do you really know about this treasured landmark?

Expand your Graceland knowledge with these amazing facts.

Related: Here’s how much Elvis still makes, 45 years after his death

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Image Credit: Wiki Commons.

1. It was once a humble farm

Graceland was originally built in 1939, by a local doctor. Before that, it was used as a grazing field for cattle and for church picnics.

Image Credit: Wiki Commons.

2. It’s named after its original owner

Dr. Thomas Moore and his wife Ruth named the estate after Ruth’s aunt, Grace. When Elvis bought the estate on March 19, 1959, he kept the name.

Image Credit: PaulMcKinnon / iStock.

3. Elvis’ parents actually found the house first

Elvis bought the home as he was searching for a quiet place to live, away from the chaos of his stardom. He asked his parents to search for a home, and they were actually the ones who put down the original $1,000 down payment for Graceland.

Image Credit: Thomas R Machnitzki/Wikimedia Commons.

4. Elvis nearly doubled its size

All-in, Presley spent $102,500 on Graceland’s 10,000 square-foot property. He would go on to spend hundreds of thousands more to update the property and expand it to over 17,00 square feet.

Image Credit: csfotoimages / iStock.

5. Elvis used the eccentric Jungle Room as a studio

Graceland has many eccentric features, but one of the most famous is the Jungle Room, which, aptly named, is a room themed to look like a jungle. Elvis allegedly found the room to be acoustically ideal and would actually convert it into a private studio. He recorded his last two albums there, including the posthumously released “Moody Blue.”

Related: Elvis impersonators in Vegas banned from weddings

Image Credit: Wiki Commons.

6. Elvis liked to shoot his TVs

Elvis liked to watch three, 25-inch TVs at the same time. While he had an array of these little TVs around his home, visitors say he had the peculiar habit of shooting them as a “joke.” At one point, there was apparently even a grave of these shot-up TVs behind Graceland.

Image Credit: Daze with Jordan the Lion / YouTube.

7. Graceland once housed a chimpanzee

Elvis, of course, loved his hound dogs, and the leashes of late Presley dogs are still on display at Graceland. However, Graceland also housed pigs, chickens, peacocks, and a chimpanzee named Scatter, who had his very own climate-controlled room.

Related: 99 of the all-time most popular musicians in America

Image Credit: Wiki Commons.

8. Someone lived there even when tours started

Presley had invited his aunt Delta to live with him after her husband died. She actually stayed at Graceland past Elvis’ death. So, for 11 years, until she passed away, she actually lived in the home even as hundreds of thousands of tourists visited Graceland after his death.

Image Credit: Wiki Commons.

9. There are five, not four burial monuments at Graceland

Graceland’s Meditation Garden is often mistaken for only having four burial monuments. In reality, there are five, one each for Elvis, parents Gladys and Vernon, grandmother Minnie Mae, and Jessie (also spelled Jesse), Elvis’ stillborn twin brother. Jessie’s memorial is smaller than the other four and is sometimes overlooked.

Image Credit: Kirkikis / iStock.

10. There’s a hidden call button on the dining room table

It’s no surprise to Elvis fans that he loved food. So, it makes sense that he had a button installed on his dining room table that allowed him to call kitchen staff out to him if he wanted or needed something to eat or drink.

Image Credit: Graceland.com.

11. A hidden car detail

Elvis may be famous for wrecking several pink Cadillac cars, but one managed to survive long enough to be displayed at the Graceland car museum. That car has a hidden cursive “E” embroidered on the floor near the driver’s seat.

Image Credit: Graceland.com.

12. Cool car tech

Elvis’ Cadillac isn’t the only Presley car with a cool feature; his Mercedes limo had one of the most advanced Motorola car phones of its time in it.

Image Credit: Graceland.com.

13. The pinball table is rigged

Elvis rigged his pinball machine so that the first player would always win. We’ll give you one guess who was always the first player.

Image Credit: Wiki Commons.

14. There’s a secret stairway to the kitchen

Elvis had a secret staircase to the kitchen installed that would bypass the main foyer. The staircase had a bedazzled chandelier hanging over it.

Image Credit: Wiki Commons.

15. Elvis’ bedroom remains untouched since his death

While the bedroom has remained closed to visitors since his death, rumor has it that it hasn’t been touched since his death. The record he listened to last before his death is even still out, ready to be played once again.

Image Credit: Wiki Commons.

16. There’s a secret vault

Archivists and family have access to a secret vault somewhere in Graceland, which contains Elvis’ most prized and valuable personal possessions. According to some of the few shared photos of the vault, it includes some of his most iconic outfits, movie posters, and even signed checks.

Image Credit: Wiki Commons.

17. The pantry was very particularly stocked

Elvis’ weekly shopping list ran about $500 and included some staples that were to be stocked in his kitchen at all times:

  • One case of regular Pepsi
  • One case of orange drink
  • Six cans of biscuits
  • Cans of sauerkraut
  • Hot Dogs
  • Banana pudding (which he requested to be cooked fresh nightly)
  • Meatloaf and sauce (the ingredients to make each)
  • Brownies
  • Ice cream (vanilla and chocolate)
  • Shredded coconut
  • Fudge cookies
  • Gum (three each of Spearmint, Doublemint and Juicy Fruit)

Related: Elvis Presley once flew to Denver for this 8,000 calorie sandwich

Image Credit: Wiki Commons.

18. It has an extravagantly decorated game room

Elvis’ basement game room was inspired by a painting of an 18th-century billiards room. He hired designer Bill Eubanks to decorate the room like it. The designer did not disappoint; he bought 350 yards of cotton fabric to deck out the room, and it took Eubanks and his team 10 days to bolt down the material around the room. 

Image Credit: Wiki Commons.

19. The Presleys weren’t originally buried at Graceland

After burglars attempted to steal Elvis’ 900-lb coffin from Memphis’ Forest Hill Cemetery, authorities allowed the Presley estate to bend some coding rules to have Presley and his mother, Gladys, reburied at Graceland.

Image Credit: GDMatt66 / iStock.

20. Only Nicholas Cage has been to the second floor since Elvis’ death

Graceland’s second floor, which housed Elvis’ master suite, has remained closed off to the public ever since his death. Only former wife Priscilla, daughter Lisa and the Graceland curator were permitted in the room. While several presidents and foreign dignitaries have been denied entrance into the second floor, super-fan Nicholas Cage made it to the second floor after marrying Elvis’ daughter in the 2000s. They divorced in 2004.

Image Credit: Sascha Steinbach/Getty Images.

21. It’s the second most visited house in America

Graceland officials estimate that the estate receives about 650,000 visitors annually. Only the White House receives more visitors, with an estimated 1.2 million visitors each year.

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Image Credit: Wiki Commons.

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Kaitlyn Farley

Kaitlyn is MediaFeed’s senior editor. She is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, specializing in social justice and investigative reporting. She has worked at various radio stations and newsrooms, covering higher-education, local politics, natural disasters and investigative and watchdog stories related to Title IX and transparency issues.