Elvis Presley’s birthplace in Tupelo; a tiny home for the “King of Rock n Roll”
I can only imagine how bitter-sweet that winter day was in 1935.
As I stand in the tiny front room of the two-room house where Elvis Presley was born the reality of how poor his family was is palpable.
Elvis Aron Presley was born on January 8, 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi. His identical twin, Jessie Garon, arrived first but was still-born.
As the tour guide puts it, “the doctor was ready to leave but the mid-wife convinced him to stay because she thought there was another baby coming.”
78 years later I can hardly wrap my head around the story. Today we know so much about babies before they’re born, it seems impossible a medical doctor wouldn’t have known Gladys Presley was having twins.
The Presley family lived in the tiny dwelling until Elvis was two and a half years old. They lost the house Vernon Presley purchased for $180 due to lack of payment.
He and Gladys took odd jobs and moved from place to place while living in Tupelo, but times were hard and the depression took its toll on the Presley family.
Eventually, in 1948 Vernon moved the family to Memphis in hopes of finding work and making a better life. But Elvis never forgot those early years in Tupelo and returned nine years later to perform a benefit concert for the city. He performed under the condition the proceeds would be used to purchase the old home and turn the land into a park.
Today the Elvis Presley Birthplace welcomes visitors from around the world. There’s a museum, gift shop and film about the family’s time in Tupelo in addition to the home, chapel and a “Memphis-Bound” old-time car.
Elvis Presley fans will find the birthplace a must-see location. However, even if you’re only slightly interested – the story of the King of Rock-n-Roll’s impoverished beginnings is compelling.
306 Elvis Presley Drive
Tupelo, MS 38801
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