The will of Elvis Presley appointed his father, Vernon Presley as executor and trustee. The beneficiaries were his nearest relatives, Minnie Mae Presley (grandmother), Vernon Presley (father) and Lisa Marie Presley (his only child). Elvis Presley died in 1977. Vernon Presley died in 1979. Minnie May Presley died in 1980. This left Lisa Marie Presley as the sole heir to the Elvis Presley estate. Lisa Marie’s inheritance was to be held in trust for her until her twenty-fifth birthday, February 1, 1993. At the time of her father’s death, Lisa Marie, was nine years old.

Elvis Presley was not a person to worry about financial planning. He chose to freely enjoy and share his wealth during the days of his life. At his death, the estate he left was not at all broke, however, there was a cash flow problem, especially with the upkeep of Graceland that cost Lisa Marie over half a million dollars a year. Due to this fact, it seemed only logical for Priscilla and the executors of the estate to open Graceland to the public as it was slowly depleting Lisa Marie’s inheritance to pay the taxes and upkeep on the property.

Priscilla Presley hired Jack Soden, a Missouri investment counselor at the time, to plan and execute the opening of Graceland to the public and oversee the total operation. Graceland opened for tours on June 7, 1982.

Over the next few years the properties in and around Graceland were acquired. Today all the shops and attractions in what is now known as Graceland Plaza are owned and operated by the Elvis Presley Enterprise (EPE). Some of the property near Graceland was already owned by the Elvis Presley Enterprise. It was purchased in 1962 but had never been developed.

A very important development for the Graceland visitor experience was the addition of Elvis’s Lisa Marie jet and Hound Dog II Jet Star planes. Vernon Presley, Elvis’s father, had sold these two planes in the year of 1978. The current owners of Elvis Presley Enterprise brought them back home to Memphis in a joint venture and opened them up for on-board tours in 1984. Another major tourist attraction development was the opening of the Elvis Presley Automobile Museum in Graceland Plaza in 1989.

The Graceland Mansion has continued to grow and develop into a very profitable tourist site. In the latter half of the 1980’s, Graceland Crossing, which is a neighboring shopping center with stores that featured Elvis-related items, was built. Graceland Crossing is situated just north of Graceland Plaza. It was independently owned until Graceland purchased it in the fall of 1997 as an addition to Graceland Mansion visitor amenities.

Following this purchase was another major development that involved a purchase of an existing nearby hotel property. The property was renovated and renamed “Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel” in the year of 1999. There is ongoing and continued expansion and enhancement of Graceland Mansion visitor facilities. The developments of new Elvis exhibition projects are planned for the Graceland complex as well, and since opening Graceland to the public in 1982, it has hosted millions of visitors from every state in the union and nearly every country of the world.

The opening of Graceland Mansion has also benefited the tourism trade in Memphis in general. Before its opening, there was only minimal tourism trade in Memphis, Tennessee. Graceland Mansion quickly became the cornerstone of the tourism industry in Memphis and the surrounding region.

Important Disclaimer: The web site address in the resource box of this article is not associated with the Graceland Mansion, the Elvis Presley Enterprise Company or any of their employees. This article and the web site are offered as a trip planning resource to the Graceland Mansion in Memphis, Tennessee.

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© 2007 Connie Limon All Rights Reserved

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Written by: Connie Limon For more helpful trip planning information to the Graceland Mansion visit For a variety of FREE reprint articles as well as special topic articles rarely seen elsewhere visit Camelot Articles at