Off the Beaten Path. Way Off.

Vance Lauderdale's Mid-South Travel Guide

(page 4 of 6)


photograph courtesy Holly Springs Tourism & Recreation Bureau

I’ve been to Graceland Too twice in Holly Springs, Mississippi. Everybody needs to go at least once. I stopped after two because anybody who visits it three times automatically becomes a “lifetime member” and as a Lauderdale I try to avoid such things.

 Besides, two trips were plenty. It’s one of those places that mean different things to different people. For some, it’s a marvelous collection of vintage Elvis Presley memorabilia, compiled over the years by a die-hard fan. For others, it’s a bewildering and claustrophobic assortment of, well, junk, obsessively compiled by a man who could be featured on an all-star edition of Hoarders.

That man is Paul McLeod, and you can’t miss his purple-painted version of Graceland. Drop by anytime — one of the many quirks of the place is that it’s open 24 hours, seven days a week, and take a tour. Highlights include what you might expect: Elvis record albums, Elvis clothing and jumpsuits, Elvis merchandise of all kinds. But what you don’t expect (or at least I didn’t) was the “research” side of Graceland Too: the collection of TV Guides, with any TV appearance (or even mention of Elvis) carefully marked with a paper clip. The bookshelves groaning with VHS tapes, where McLeod has taped every single Elvis concert. The rows of mannequins, wearing Elvis-themed clothing. And at the end of the tour, a snapshot of every single “lifetime member,” carefully mounted on sheet after sheet of poster boards. You see why I didn’t make a third trip?

Graceland Too reminds me of Billy Tripp’s “Mindfield.” Many folks in Holly Springs are embarrassed by the place, just a few blocks from their historic town square, while others take considerable pride in their increasingly well-known tourist attraction. But it’s certainly gained a national following. When This Modern World cartoonist Tom Tomorrow came to Memphis years ago, he asked us to take him to only two places: the real Graceland, and Graceland Too. 


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