Graceland Vandalized With Graffiti

Graceland / Facebook, Briseida Holguin / Twitter

Graceland, the Elvis Presley estate that is one of Memphis’ signature landmarks and by far the most popular tourist draw, was hit overnight on August 30, 2020, with graffiti.

Vandals didn’t stop there and also went after the Levitt Shell in Overton Park, where Presley gave his first paid concert on July 30, 1954.

The vandalism was on the stone wall around the mansion where Elvis lived for 20 years. Originally built by the S.E. Toof family in 1939 and named after a relative, Presley purchased the Graceland estate in 1957 when he was 22. It remained Presley’s home until 1977, when he died at the estate. Graceland opened for tours five years after the singer’s death in 1982.

The Graceland wall and sidewalk are in plain view of the north-south traffic on the adjacent street. The extent of the graffiti suggests the vandals were on the scene for a relatively long period of time and that multiple people were involved.

The Shell in Overton Park also remains well-lit overnight, and there is an ongoing investigation to hopefully track down the perpetrators.

Graceland has made no comments but by mid-morning, workers with power-wash equipment were removing the graffiti.

Natalie Wilson, the executive director of the Levitt Shell gave a statement saying:

“We wake up, excited to celebrate our city on 901 Day, and we see our beautiful historic landmark defaced with messages of pain. And that breaks our heart. We’re brokenhearted and devastated by this.”

The city of Memphis celebrates 901 Day on September 1 (9/01) each year. It celebrates the city, whose area code is 901.