Tupelo, Mississippi: Elvis Presley's Birthplace

Most people have heard of Graceland, Elvis Presley's grandiose mansion in Memphis, Tennessee. But "The King" got his start in a much more modest dwelling some 100 miles to the southeast in Tupelo, Mississippi.

Elvis was born on Jan. 8, 1935 in a humble two-room home his father, Vernon, built for only $180, just east of Tupelo's downtown. Today the home is part of the Elvis Presley Center, which includes a museum filled with mementos both from Elvi's early life and his career, plus a memorial chapel, gift shop and park.

While you're there, you can also see Lawhon School, where as a fifth grader, Elvis earned second place in a talent contest with his rendition of Old Shep; the Tupelo Fairgrounds, where he performed in 1956 and 1957; and Tupelo Hardware, where he bought his first guitar.

You also should take a leisurely walk around Tupelo's quiet, genteel downtown, which features Civil War memorials, a gold-domed municipal building and an interesting blend of Victorian and New Orleans-style architecture.

The Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum are open daily all year, except for Thanksgiving and Christmas Days. Nominal fees are charged. Operating hours vary by season, so please call ahead at 1-662-841-1245.

Tupelo is located at the junction of U.S. Highways 45 and 78 in northeast Mississippi. For more information about the city, call 1-800-533-0611 or browse around at the above-mentioned Website.

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