Tupelo Mississippi – the site of the 1874 Battle of Tupelo, the seventh largest city in the state of Mississippi AND… last but not least… the birthplace of the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley!
Personally I’ve never been much of an Elvis fan, I mean, I love his tunes, but I probably couldn’t name more than two of his songs if someone asked me randomly. With that said, I think you’d have to be crazy not to acknowledge the immense impact Elvis had on America’s music industry.
So, while making my way through Mississippi en route to Alabama, I stopped at Elvis Presley’s Birthplace in Tupelo, Mississippi. A must-see slice of Americana!
I plugged the address into my GPS as if it were going to be hard to find. Boy was I wrong! (According to the City of Tupelo’s website, the house where Elvis was born and the adjacent Elvis Presley Museum and memorial chapel draw nearly 100,000 visitors each year. Wow!)
After exiting the interstate and making my way through Tupelo – passing many Elvis-clad signs and storefronts along the way, I arrived at Elvis’ birthplace, a small, two-room shotgun style house built by Elvis’ father, grandfather and uncle. How sweet is the porch swing?
Photography is not allowed anywhere inside – including the house, museum and chapel.
After making their way through the house, which is outfitted with period furniture, guests may visit the museum, chapel and story wall. The story wall is interesting – you can see two guests viewing it in the image below – it offers original and unedited stories about Elvis’ youth, as told by childhood friends, family members and even the pastor who taught Elvis to play guitar.
Other sights to see on the property include the Fountain of Life, a water fountain that includes thirteen spouts – one for every year he lived in Tupelo; the chapel, the museum and of course the gift shop.
Wandering the grounds is free but for a price of $17, adults may tour the house, museum and chapel. (For a price of $8, adults may tour the house only.) Reference the Elvis Presley Birthplace website for tour hours, ticket information and more.
After touring Elvis’ birthplace, head over to Johnnie’s Drive Inn (908 East Main Street,) one of Elvis’ favorite childhood spots where his “usual” was a cheeseburger and an RC Cola. Guests may even sit in his favorite booth, identified by a photo of him in that very booth.
Don’t try to go on a Sunday though, they’re at church!
Additional Elvis-themed features in Tupelo include Tupelo Hardware, where for his 11th birthday Elvis’ mom Gladys purchased his first guitar – for just $7.25 (apparently Elvis had begged for a .22 rifle but Gladys thought that was too dangerous, so he tearfully settled for the guitar,) and Tupelo Fairgrounds, where Elvis performed concerts in 1956 and 1957 and where a larger than life statue of the singer stands today.
If you’re an Elvis fan, I suggest you strap on your blue suede shoes and head to Tupelo, MS! And if you really wanted to go all out, you could visit Graceland in the same day, too, as it’s only about a two hour drive from Elvis’ birthplace. Enjoy!