24 Hours of Elvis: 6:08 p.m. – Elvis Slept Here
(In honor of Elvis Week 2011, I’m having an Elvis-themed Monday. All day, immersed in the world of Elvis – checking out his favorite places, eating where he ate, and doing some of the things he did in an attempt to find out why after so many years, Elvis is still so fascinating for so many people.)
You can’t go upstairs to see the bedrooms at Graceland, but you can see Elvis’ old apartment at Uptown Square.
Uptown Square used to be the Lauderdale Courts housing project. Elvis there with his parents at 185 Winchester, apartment 328, from 1949 until 1953.
Here’s what the Uptown Square website has to say about Elvis’ time in the apartment:
“For it was from here that a shy Elvis would practice his guitar in the basement laundry room and would also meet and play with other musicians who lived in The Courts. Elvis would walk to nearby Beale Street and gain inspiration from blues artists. You could find him listening to records at Pop Tunes around the corner. Sun Studios was over a mile away. It was here in this close knit community that Elvis met girlfriends, went to Humes School and developed as a performer.”
The apartments have been renovated since Elvis lived here, but they’ve taken care to make sure that the one that he lived in is still authentic to the period.
When you walk into the apartment (which is pretty small for a two bedroom), you’re in the living room.
Though it’s decorated with family photos and vintage furniture, it’s not completely in the past. There’s a TV hiding in an antique wardrobe.
Off of the living room, there’s a tiny kitchen. It’s nice and bright, but everything in it seems to be at three quarters scale. The stove is tiny, and it seems almost impossible that the table (which has three chairs) could seat three people.
There are two bedrooms – one for Elvis’ parents, Vernon and Gladys:
And one for high-school aged Elvis:
It’s decorated with an appropriate amount of teenage boy accoutrements – comic books, a toy gun, a guitar (which, incidentally, is perfectly in tune). Unlike most teenage boy rooms, though, Elvis’ room at Lauderdale Courts has this – a wall of lipstick kisses from visiting female fans:
I couldn’t help it – I rummaged around in my bag until I found some lipstick and planted one of my own.
The awesome people at Uptown Square gave me the keys to the apartment for the night. I’ve been here about half an hour and am trying to get settled in, but it’s kind of weird. I had hoped it would feel like a hotel room, but instead, I feel like I’m a guest in someone’s very well-kept home. It took me a good half an hour to get comfortable enough to take my shoes off.
The staff warned me that sometimes people peek in the windows (the front of the apartment faces Third St., and that it’s possible that the place may have some supernatural visitors, but so far, nothing out of the ordinary has happened. It’s just me, the Elvis apartment and Cake Boss on the TV.
If you’d like to sleep like the King, the Elvis apartment is available for short term rental, and there are tours available.
(PS – a huge thank you to the staff at Lauderdale Courts for letting me stay the night. You guys are the best!)