Graeme wrote:Looking at photos of the house, one taken in the late 30's early 40’s (..) In an aerial photo taken in 1960 (..)
Any chance you could post the photos here - especially the one from the late 30 early 40s? Thanks.
Graeme wrote:It had a mod cons laid on like electricity by then and possibly running water. When Vernon was living there it was gas light and a well for water, no electricity.
You are (most probably) correct when saying there was no electricity at the «birthplace» house for the few / couple of years Vernon and his family stayed there, but if nothing else, I'd say there’s a very good chance the house was wired even back then.
Snip from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tennessee ... _Authority
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is a federally owned corporation in the United States created by congressional charter in May 1933 to provide navigation, flood control, electricity generation, fertilizer manufacturing, and economic development in the Tennessee Valley, a region particularly affected by the Great Depression.
Snip from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tupelo,_Mississippi
During the Great Depression, Tupelo was electrified by the new Tennessee Valley Authority, which had constructed dams and power plants throughout the region to generate hydroelectric power for the large, rural area. The distribution infrastructure was built with federal assistance as well, employing many local workers. In 1935 *), President Franklin Roosevelt visited this "First TVA City».
*) 1935 is most probably incorrect as most other sources says 1934.
Snip from http://djournal.com/opinion/fdrs-visit- ... s-arrival/
One of the largest single-event crowds in Mississippi history – an estimated 75,000 – overflowed Robins Field in Tupelo on Nov. 18, 1934, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt – and Eleanor Roosevelt, his wife – ceremonially celebrated Tupelo’s becoming the “First TVA City.”
Above: President Franklin Roosevelt addresses a crowd estimated at 75,000 at Robins Field on Nov. 18, 1934, to celebrate Tupelo’s status achieved in February of that year as the first TVA city.
Above: Map showing the location of Robins Field
Quote from «Elvis and Gladys
In November of 1934, President Roosevelt came down to Tupelo to open the TVA and strangely enough, of all East Tupelo, only the area above the highway was wired for electricity. Strange because they were the people least likely to have afforded it. The Presley house was wired but was never hooked up during their time. They used oil lamps.
Graeme wrote:(..) Vernon was saying it is the same house but its not the same as he remembers it or that its not the same as when he last was in it before he went to prison.
As previously also posted back at the aek lounge - here’s a summary of the story (lifted from «Elvis Monthly») of when Albert Hand and an associate (a Phyllis - who was he?) joined Vernon on a trip to Tupelo, the same piece as you make reference to I assume. It’s been some time since I read the full piece, but in the summary here, Vernon does not say or even imply that the house or its location not being the original. In fact, he says quite the opposite, «My, my! Just as it was
.» Dead on eight o’clock, and glinting in the morning sunlight, Vernon Presley’s huge, cream Cadillac sighed round the Holiday Inn Motel Block and pulled up outside our flat.
«Morning folks», said Vernon chirpily. «Ready for Tupelo?»
«Morning Mr. Presley», Phyllis and I chorused, and stepped into the front seat of the car.
About four more witty quips later from the world’s most famous father, we were on our way, silently eating up the Memphis freeway miles before swinging off towards Tupelo.
All three of us felt a little strange. Vernon had not visited his old hometown for 15 years and had not seen Elvis' birthplace for 25 years. We were wondering how he would react when he got there, this place full of memories. We must have betrayed ourself to our travelling companion, but Mr. Presley showed no signs of uneasiness and during our journey, he constantly pointed out roads that used to be fields; houses where non stood; (etc - snip).
"Soon as we hit Tupelo, we'll have coffee an' a bit to eat", Vernon smiled (..) but as soon as we hit Tupelo, the promise was forgotten.
"Look 't that Mr. Hand, Hulme High School. Elvis went there after doing the rounds at one or two schools, then we moved to Memphis. A lot of fans think he went there all the time. Probably the papers gave that impression, but this wasn't so. He wasn't there very long at all".
Vernon pointed out another school where Elvis had previousely attended, but unfortunately he couldn't remember the name of it.
Vernon slowed down as we reashed the town centre. He explained that the tornado had ripped plum through the centre of Tupelo, levelling it to the ground and all this was new ground to him. (..) We noticed, as we cruised along, a number of townsfolk giving the car a hard look, and a dozen or so townsfolk waving in faint recognition. I mentioned this to Vernon and he smiled, scanning the roadside even more enthusiastically in sort of a boyish yearning to grasp the past for a fleeting instant.
"Where is it, where is it", he muttered. Then suddenly, a sharp intake of breath. "Look Mr. Hand, he whispered fiercely, "my old truck company."
There before us on the right, stood a lenghty building with gaping archways where, presumably, the trucks left the hidden inside yard. He almost slowed to a stop and he scanned the stationary trucks which were being loaded. "These people sell and ship anything", Vernon said. "I have taken truckloads of food, wood, cotten, elephants, pins, and enjoyed everything I loaded and did. It was hard work, but healthy, and you had the feeling of being free" Vernon stopped and his eyes lit up.
"Hey Red" he bellowed.
An overalled figure stopped pushing a trolley he was steering, and looked round in faint bewilderment. Then he dropped the trolley with a heavy clatter and roared: "Vern! You old son of a gun!"
And then there followed a lively five minutes chat between two old pals
Then the moment was over.
"There's the road", said Vernon quietly and he flicked his left-hand indicator, before moving up a narrow road on the left-hand side of the main truck route.
"The house is along here", he went on. "Now there are thousands of photographes knocking around, supposed to be Elvis' house. Once again it was a magazine's fault. I told them where the house was, but they took the wrong picture and lots of fans followed suit and also took the wrong one. *)
Well, there'll be no mistake this time, eh Mr. Hand?", and the Cadillac drew to a halt.
I tried the door. I couldn't believe it! It was open! (snip) I pushed the door open and stepped inside (snip) Vernon spoke quietly from behind me.
"My, my! Just as it was. In that corner, Mr. Hand, Elvis drew his first breath". He pointed to the left hand side of the room. We were all three visibly affected.
Vernon spoke again.
"Just look at the size of this room! Do you know it had two double-beds, an`it don't look big enough to hold a cot!" He paused in true, honest-to-goodness astonishment. "Little window there, little window there. Oh yes, and this door over there, let's go see...".
Quickly, almost eagerly he went to the inside door on the right-hand side of the bedroom, and passed through into the second room. Vernon stopped and gave a slow whistle of wonder.
"Mr. Hand", he muttered, it's just like yesterday". He pointed out imagenary sticks of furniture and pointed to the place where the sink used to be.
Lovingly he fingered the fireplace, which now had no surround, then he quickly jerked open the closet door on the right alongside it. He laughed softly. "I put this in `cos we hadn't much room. Guess it left less room than ever, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. And it's still here, durn me if it ain't!"
And with the normality of the exit, so Vernon's tenseness seemed to go too, and from that moment we were treated to a wonderful reminiscence of "the old days".
- Of how Elvis used to potter across the road to go up to his little church, which is still in tip-top condition and used daily by worshippers, and stands a few yards away from the front of the house, across the road.
- Of the house itself, which "Paw and me built with our to bare hands".
- Of the well at the side of the home where they used to draw water: "And it was a real good well, too".
- Of the tree which "Paw planted", and I remember Vernon made three wrong calculations before he finally slapped the tree-trunk and said proudly:
"Yupp! This is the one."
Vernon visibly heaved himself out of his reveries, and said suddenly,
"Say, you'd better take some pictures for the fans back home, hadn't you?
And he strode back to the car to fetch his camera.
"Mr. Presley", I asked hesitantly, "Would you mind if I took one of you on the steps?"
"Not at all", he laughed. I'll sit just like I used ter, on those hot, summer evenings", he said and sat down.
Over the hill to the right, an army of trees marched down to a hugh, beautiful lake that looked real good for fishing. And down the hill, one looked straight down beyond the baseball pich, to the Recreation Hall itself.
"Let's go see if anyone's around", Vernon suggested.
We picked our way back down the slope and wandered over to the Hall. We heard a hammer banging away inside the building, and once again we were in luck. There was an elderly workman there and Vernon had a long chat with him about the Centre and their plans and he was delighted to hear that one of the key workmen on the building was one of Elvis' shoolmates
Story and photos above lifted from EM #421 (a re-print, originally printed in the 60s)
*) Re. the wrong picture mention, Vernon might here have thought of The Tupelo Daily Journal that in the Weekend Edition July 28-29, 1956, printed a picture of the wrong house - here’s a scan (can’t remember where I found it) of the wrong house as pictured in The Tupelo Daily Journal,
The picture below, said to be from the 40s, was printed in Bill Burk’s «Elvis World magazine» some time in the 90s - notice the electric wiring up to the house and the bigger Presley house next door,
The above photo was also printed in Norteast Mississippi Daily Journal
Aug 1, 1999, dated to be late 40s or early 50s
The below photo is a scan from one of Sean Shaver's books and dated 1956. – When comparing the shot below with the one above, I'm pretty sure both photos was shot the same day. - The angle is slightly different, there's a guy sitting in a chair on the first one, the chair is empty on the alleged '56 shot, but the chair is the same and also standing in the same position. In fact, everything visible in both shots is a match as far as I can see.
Anyone who knows when the bigger Presley house that can be seen in the background on both shots was torn down? If it was still there in '56, my guess is both shots is from '56.
If 1956 is the correct year, the occasion the shots was made might have been the Sept. '56 Mississippi-Alabama Fair thing. According to tupelo.net (quote),
Tupelo bought the house and land with money provided from a 1956 Tupelo concert by Elvis himself, who wanted a park for neighborhood children. As an official Mississippi landmark, the birthplace is part of the 15-acre Elvis Presley Park…
- that’s all I've got on this and the refrence page is no longer available. - Can't remember reading or hearing this elsewhere, but one time or another I guess the city of Tupelo took over the place. Anyway, my guess is both shots were made after Elvis became Elvis
As to whether the house has been moved or not, here’s a quote from the before mentioned «Elvis World» on the subject - the piece also makes reference to the Albert Hand «travelogue» as posted above,
Once again, the oft-asked questions are popping up:
Is the EP Birthplace home, now a top tour-ist attraction in Tupelo, Miss., the same house built in 1934 for Vernon and Gladys Presley?
Is it in its original location?
(Opening the envelope:) And the answer is . . .
Well, it depends on who you talk to. And on which day.
Dick Guyton, director of the EP Birthplace home, says it is the same house and it is still located on its original site.
Billy Smith, Elvis' cousin, says it is the same house, but it has been moved from another location.
Aunt Annie Presley told EW, when we were researching the book, Early Elvis: The Tupelo Years, that this is the same structure, but "it was up the hill when they lived in it.»
"Up the hill" meaning in the direction of the Elvis chapel.
"My dad lived in that area when the Presleys lived there and he says the original birthplace home, while on the same road, was in a different location," said Roy Turner, Tupelo's historian.
A fan from England, who recently visited the home, said a local "pointed to a jumble of wood, half-covered with weeds, on the other side of the road and said, 'that's the remains of the proper shack, but it's ruined so we show people around this one instead, but he was born in that one.’"
Even Vernon Presley, in a long-ago inter-view, added to the confusion.
"There are thousands of photographs knocking around, supposedly of Elvis' house," Vernon said then. "Once again, it was a magazine's fault. I told them where the house was, but they took the wrong picture and lots of fans followed suit and also took the wrong one.»
EW has even seen a photo of a house, re-portedly the Birthplace home, but this house had no windows along the side.
Guyton says they have on file affadavits from family members saying (1) this is the same house; and (2) it remains in its original location.
He said the road pattern of Old Saltillo Road has been changed a bit from when the Presleys lived there; which may be cause for some confusion.
He said the house retains its original oak floors, but added it has been re-roofed about four times and there have been improve-ments made to the front porch.
None of the furniture in the house, as it stands today, is the same, but is of the same era.
Turner said, after the house was aban-doned, perhaps in the late Forties, it sat in a state of decaying disrepair until the ladies of the East Heights Garden Club went to the city fathers in the late Sixties and asked, "Let us keep it up.»
The club fixed the house up, painted it, and put era furniture inside.
Turner said when the club took over, the inside walls had newspapers serving as wall-paper. "And back then, photographs of the home (see above) showed the house sat higher off the ground than it does today.»
EW previously reported that "collectors" have made away with four of the swings that once were on the front porch.
Adding to the confusion, in his interview, Vernon noted how Elvis used to "potter across the road to go up to this little church, which is still in tip-top condition and used daily by worshippers.»
In reality, the Presleys did not attend the church across from the Birthplace home; rather, one a few blocks away. And that building is still there.
I can add that I tend to believe that the house hasn't been moved at all. I’ve never been to Tupelo myself so I can only go by pictures and what others say, but at least back in 1973 (photos below) the power lines looks to have the same incoming angle as back in '56 (or whenever the shots as posted before was made). If it was moved to a different spot, more likely than not, the angle would've been different.
The below shots is said to be from '73,
When comparing with more recent shots of the house, the power lines appears to be re-located, and possibly later removed altogether.
Had the house been moved to another location in 1973 or later, the moving most likely would’ve been well known.
Photo: James V. Roy
Besides, the more recently shot photo above may very well display the foundation for the family house. If nothing else, the foundation seems to match pretty well with the location of the bigger Presley house when compared with the old shots were both houses can be seen.