Elvis Presley’s Tupelo

By Alyssa Long

Tupelo, Mississippi, located about an hour outside of Memphis, is where Elvis Presley grew up. Elvis lived in this tiny town until he was 13 years old and his family packed up their car and moved to Memphis, Tennessee.

I had the opportunity to visit and it was truly incredible to see the humble beginning Elvis had and how this sleepy town shaped the man he was to become.

The Elvis Presley Birthplace is located in east Tupelo.

The Elvis Presley Birthplace is located in east Tupelo.

If you get the opportunity to visit Tupelo, I highly recommend visiting the Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum. The house he was born in and lived in during part of his childhood is the main attraction. This tiny two-room home is in the exact location it was in when Elvis lived there. Even though the furniture and things inside are not original to the Presleys, you really get a feel of what it must have been like, although I can’t really imagine living in a two-room house. Notice that I said two rooms… not two bedrooms. It is just a room that was a bedroom/living room and a kitchen… that’s it.

It’s pretty crazy to think that when the Presleys moved, they sold all their furniture. I keep thinking about how their furniture is sitting in someone’s home or an antique shop or (I hate to say) has been destroyed, and nobody even knows that it all belonged to Elvis!

This "Elvis at 13" statue is near the birthplace. Behind the birthplace, two new Elvis statues were unveiled on August 8, 2015.

This “Elvis at 13” statue is near the birthplace and depicts Elvis walking with the guitar his mother purchased for him in Tupelo.

Beside the house, there is a statue depicting 13 year old Elvis holding his guitar. He was very friendly.

The birthplace hosted Fan Appreciation Day on August 8, 2015, and unveiled two new Elvis statues – titled “Becoming” – behind the birthplace’s museum and office. One statues is of a young Elvis holding his guitar, dreaming of what music he’ll make one day, and behind it is a statue is of Elvis in a jumpsuit, arms stretched to the sky.

Go to church with Elvis at the Elvis Presley Birthplace in Tupelo.

Go to church with Elvis at the Elvis Presley Birthplace in Tupelo.

Also found on the grounds is the church Elvis attended while growing up. It was originally located a few blocks away, but they moved it to this location and restored it in 2008. You have the opportunity to go into the church and watch a presentation where they simulate what a church service would have been like when Elvis attended. It’s actually a pretty cool thing to see. You sit down in the pews and screens come down from the two walls on your sides and a screen at the front. Then they play a video of actors going through a service. It’s surrounding you so you feel like you’re really there. They even have a little boy who pretends he’s Elvis and sings a little song. It’s pretty cute and very interesting!

Elvis' mother, Gladys, purchased his first guitar at this store in Tupelo.

Elvis’ mother, Gladys, purchased his first guitar at this store in Tupelo.

After touring the grounds and the museum, I ventured into the little town of Tupelo. It is definitely the cutest little Southern town! Tupelo Hardware is where Elvis purchased his first guitar. It’s still there and still a working hardware store! Apparently there’s a little mark on the floor of the store showing where Elvis was standing when he was handed his first guitar.

Elvis is everywhere in Tupelo!

Elvis is everywhere in Tupelo!

Tupelo is perfect little day trip! I highly recommend taking the time to visit.

Learn more about Tupelo and the Elvis Presley Birthplace.


3 Comments

  1. ursula m. marte

    Elvis Presley is my fav singer and, actor, since, I, was 13 years old..I remember the first time I heard his song ” Don’t be Cruel” I have to stopped walking and listen to his music.Elvis was so popular in, the Philippines at that time, 1956 and filipino
    people still loves Elvis..until, now..He is my, one and only favorite…I love Elvis…
    I watch, all his movies and I have all VHS and CDs…and books etc. I went to Memphis
    October 2010..

  2. Bob Davis

    The first Elvis concert I attended was at the Oakland Auditorium, Oakland, CA 1957. I was 13 years old. I saw Elvis two more times in Oakland in the 70’s and have some great pictures from one of the concerts.Visited Graceland and his birthplace in Tupelo in 1986. Elvis was and still is the greatest.

  3. Leslie Askew

    I found it interesting that you characterized Tupelo as a “tiny town”, at the time Elvis lived there, but I guess that’s all relative to what you are comparing to. And since Memphis is/was so much bigger, that makes sense.

    It’s especially interesting, to see how much the population has grown in the years since – as it is listed as just over 8000 people, to become a city of over 35,000 today.

    I wonder what Elvis would think, of his birthplace – if he could see it now?

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