Deep South USA Blog

On 7th June 1982 Elvis Presley’s Graceland opened to the public for tours, when 3,034 fans paid the $5 admission fee for the opportunity to be the first to experience the place that the King of Rock 'n' Roll called home.

The official opening was with the cutting of a blue ribbon by Elvis’ Aunt Delta and CEO Jack Soden. Since then, Elvis’ beloved Memphis home has welcomed over 22-million guests from around the world, becoming THE ultimate rock 'n' roll pilgrimage for music fans everywhere. To celebrate the 40th anniversary, visitors on 7th June 2022 experienced the Graceland Mansion tour with live tour guides throughout the mansion, just as it was in 1982. In addition, the first 1,000 guests received a 40th anniversary poster, featuring Graceland’s original opening day flyer artwork.

Other anniversary celebrations include the opening of a new exhibit at the Archives Experience in Elvis Presley’s Memphis called “Graceland, Welcome To My World.” The exhibit will explore the story of Elvis’ Graceland through photos, personal artefacts and Graceland archival footage. Graceland will also be sharing newly shot interviews with Priscilla Presley and Jack Soden, talking about the decision to open Graceland and the early days of public tours. In addition, Graceland will invite the millions of fans who have visited to share photos of their experience on social media, using the #Graceland40.

When Elvis passed away in August of 1977, he could have left one of the great fortunes of entertainment history, had he been one to worry about financial planning, rather than freely enjoying and sharing his wealth as he did. While the estate he left was by no means broke, there was a cash flow problem, especially with Graceland costing over half a million dollars a year in maintenance and taxes. It seemed logical for Priscilla and the other two executors to open Graceland to the public. In late 1981, they hired Jack Soden, at the time a Kansas City, Missouri investment counsellor, to plan and execute the opening of Graceland to the public and oversee the total operation. Soden continues today as Graceland’s President and CEO. Graceland welcomes over 500,000 visitors each year, and is one of the most visited home tours in the United States, after the most famous home in America - The White House.

A few Graceland highlights from the past 40 years:

7 June 1982: Graceland opens to the public with live tour guides.

22 February 1984 – Elvis’ jet, the Lisa Marie, arrives in Memphis and is brought down Elvis Presley Boulevard to its present location.

12 June 1989: The Elvis Presley Automobile Museum opens at Graceland. This is the first new construction on the Graceland campus. Vernon’s Office also opens as part of the Graceland Mansion tour.

1990 – Graceland’s famous front gates are restored by the National Ornamental Metal Museum in Memphis. Elvis’ 1956 purple Cadillac goes on display.

7 November 1991 – Elvis Presley’s Graceland is placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

1994 – Graceland makes the switch from live tour guides to audio tours. The kitchen is added to the Graceland Mansion tour.

11 May 1997: On Mother’s Day, Gladys and Vernon’s bedroom is added to the Graceland Mansion tour.

Spring 1999 – Heartbreak Hotel opens, offering fans an Elvis-themed place to stay during their visit.

26 March 2006 – Graceland is named a National Historic Landmark.

30 June 2006 – President George W. Bush, First Lady Laura Bush and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visit Graceland, which marks the first time a sitting president visits Graceland.

2007 – The 30th anniversary of Elvis' passing was remembered at the Elvis Week Candlelight Vigil, where more than 75,000 fans paid their respects to Elvis. The Vigil lasted until 8:30 a.m. the next day.

27 October 2016 –  Fulfilling a dream of Elvis’ to build a state-of-the-art guest house for visitors to his home, the AAA Four Diamond resort, The Guest House at Graceland opens.

2 March 2017 – Graceland’s new exhibit and entertainment complex, Elvis Presley’s Memphis, opens, complete with new restaurants, shops, a soundstage and exhibits. Notable exhibits include a new car museum, Presley Motors, and the world’s largest Elvis museum, Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum.

For more information on any of the above email 

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About Graceland and Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

Elvis Presley’s Graceland, in Memphis, is music’s most important and beloved landmark, with hundreds of thousands of fans from around the world visiting the historic home each year. Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. (EPE) manages the operations of Graceland and its related properties, including Elvis Presley's Memphis, Graceland's entertainment and exhibition complex over 200,000 square feet in size; the new 80,000 square feet Graceland Exhibition Center featuring rotating exhibits; the AAA Four Diamond Guest House at Graceland 450-room resort hotel; and the Graceland Archives, featuring thousands of artifacts from Elvis’ home and career. EPE also produces and licenses Elvis-themed live events, tours, and attractions worldwide. Graceland Holdings LLC and Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. led by managing partner Joel Weinshanker, is the majority owner of EPE. Graceland is the only attraction worldwide to ever receive nine USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards including “Best Holiday Historic Home Tour,” “Best Tennessee Attraction and Iconic Landmark,” “Best Musical Attraction,” “Best Historic Southern Attraction,” and the #1 “Iconic American Attraction.” The TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards named Graceland the most popular attraction in Tennessee and one of the top 25 landmarks in the world and Rolling Stone named it one of 10 Great American Music Landmarks. For more information on EPE and Graceland, visit

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