In June 1982, the house where Elvis Presley once lived opened its doors to tourists. 30 years and 18 million visitors later, Elvis’ ex-wife Priscilla sheds some light on the Memphis attraction.
After all these years what keeps music fans coming to Graceland?
It’s not just the music history, which has helped transform Memphis, Tennessee into a music mecca, it’s also the spirit of Elvis.
Priscilla explained in an AP interview, “Every time I go in there, I feel like Elvis is going to come down the stairs any minute. I have no doubt that he’s there, somewhere, his spirit. I think people feel that.”
The idea to open Graceland to the public was not out of nostalgia, but rather out of necessity. The King of Rock N’ Roll died on August 16, 1977. By the time the 80’s rolled around, the Elvis Estate was in shambles. The bank wanted to seize the house, but Priscilla came up with a plan to not only raise money, but to pay tribute to her late husband.
“I realized as it was going on that there really wasn’t any money that could support Graceland or any of the people that worked for Elvis that were still there. I had a decision to make to somehow save Graceland.”
That decision has since forged an annual stream of 500,000 visitors to the mansion, and innumerable benefits to the local economy. Graceland expects to welcome its 18 millionth visitor this year.
Andrew Celani – WODS.com