The King's Palace

Elvis' Aunt Delta Presley Biggs and CEO of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Jack Soden, cut the ribbon to open Graceland Mansion to the public.

June 8, 1982

There was the woman in the wheelchair, who’d timed her operation to she could visit Graceland as part of her recovery.

There was the grandmother with the curly gray hair who’d talked her husband into flying her here from Australia so she could see the mansion as soon as it opened.

There were women with roses and red eyes and Graceland T-shirts and Elvis wristwatches and quivering legs and trembling voices and long, shuddering sighs.

And there were the legion of ordinary, everyday, see-America-first tourists who’d come to Memphis from all over the country to behold this newest wonder as the home where Elvis Presley lived for 20 years was opened to the public yesterday.

“I felt honored just to go through the doors,” said Lytan Wells of Kenner, La., who spent the night with two women in a car across the street from Graceland.

Marcy Pancotti holds a single rose as she is one of the first visitors to Graceland.

Kirby Pines
Kirby Pines