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Elvis’ Graceland marks 30th year open to public

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Elvis Presley’s Graceland estate, which opened to the public 30 years ago, expects to welcome its 18 millionth visitor soon. (Associated Press)

She initially reached out to Morgan Maxfield, a Kansas City-based financier, but after he died in a plane crash, his business partner, Mr. Soden, stepped in.

“The one really clear, passionate voice for ‘Don’t let go of Graceland, don’t let go of the artifacts,’ was Priscilla,” Mr. Soden said.

They met, planned and visited other homes-turned-museums, such as Thomas Jefferson’s house at Monticello and Thomas Edison’s home in West Orange, N.J. By 1982, they were ready to open, with Miss Presley’s idea of keeping everything in the home the same as it was when Elvis was alive still intact.

To augment the $500,000 investment, they presold tickets, generating enough money to buy uniforms for the tour guides. The first month was such a success that they made back the half-million dollars in about 38 days, Mr. Soden said. Future plans include $50 million in improvements to Elvis Presley Boulevard and other infrastructure near Graceland.

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