Graceland Farms was originally owned by Stephen C. Toof, founder of S.C. Toof & Co., the oldest commercial printing firm in Memphis, who was previously the pressroom foreman of the Memphis newspaper, the Memphis Daily Appeal. The “grounds” (before the mansion home was built in 1939) was named after Toof’s daughter, Grace. She inherited the farm/grounds from her father in 1894. After her death, the property was passed down to her niece Ruth Moore, a Memphis socialite, who together with her husband, Thomas Moore, built a 10,266 square feet (953.7 m2) Colonial Revival style mansion in 1939.
After Elvis Presley began his musical career, he purchased a $40,000 home for himself and his family at 1034 Audubon Drive in Memphis, TN.As his fame grew, especially after his appearances on television, the number of fans that would congregate outside the house multiplied.Presley’s neighbors, most of whom were happy to have a celebrity living nearby, soon came to find the constant gathering of fans and journalists a nuisance.After several complaints, Presley decided it was necessary for him to move to a property more suitable.
In early 1957, Presley gave his parents, Vernon and Gladys Presley, a $100,000 budget, and asked them to find a “farmhouse” type property to purchase.At the time, Graceland was located several miles beyond Memphis’ main urban area.In later years, Memphis would expand with housing, resulting in Graceland being surrounded by other properties.Presley purchased Graceland on March 19, 1957 for the amount of $102,500.Later that year, Presley invited Richard Williams and Buzz Cason “to get a close look at this mansion Elvis had told us about. … We proceeded to clown around on the front porch, striking our best rock ‘n’ roll poses and snapping pictures with the little camera. We peeked in the not-yet-curtained windows and got a kick out of the pastel colored walls in the front rooms with shades of bright reds and purples that Elvis most certainly had picked out.” Elvis was fond of claiming that the US government had mooted a visit to Graceland by Nikita Khrushchev, ‘to see how in America a fellow can start out with nothing and, you know, make good’.