Elvis Express Radio News
WHERE IS ELVIS...TUPELO OR MEMPHIS
October 14, 2015 - Elvis Express Radio
Posted by Elvis Presley's Graceland on Oct 12, 2015
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Posted by Elvis Presley's Graceland on Oct 12, 2015

In January 2014, Vanity Fair magazine published an article showing a photo of Elvis Presley presumably taken in downtown Tupelo, Mississippi, in 1947.

The article traces the origin of the photo to a woman who was walking into a drugstore to drop off some film that had one exposure left on the roll. According to the story, she
noticed a young Elvis on his bike and asked him to pose, snapping her last frame of him. The woman later gave the photo to Presley family friend Janelle McComb of Tupelo, who
passed along the photo and the story of how she obtained it to Elvis fan and memorabilia collector Wade Jones shortly before her death.

The story behind the photo may have been correct, but the city was wrong.

Tupelo lies in Lee County, which was a dry county in the 1940’s, meaning it was illegal to sell alcohol, yet the background of the photo shows a liquor store. Mississippi didn’t repeal
Prohibition until 1966.

The bike in the photo below is also familiar.
A young Elvis posing on his bike in front of the S&S Drug Store in 1949
Elvis received a Firestone Pilot Classic bicycle, most likely for his 13th birthday. In 1993, a photo was found in Gladys’ closet at Graceland of Elvis on a new bike with “age 13”
written on the back.

The bike is the same one in the Vanity Fair photo, except for the fenders, which were removed in the later photo.

The Presleys moved to Memphis in November 1948 and lived at 370 Washington before moving just around the corner to a large rooming house at 572 Poplar Avenue in June
1949. They briefly lived there until September, when they moved to Lauderdale Courts. Elvis’ grandmother, Minnie Mae Presley, continued living at the Poplar address, according to
the 1950 Memphis City Directory. City directories list homes and businesses by street throughout the city.
The Presleys moved to Memphis in November 1948 and lived at 370 Washington Avenue before moving just around the corner to a large rooming house at 572 Poplar Avenue
in June 1949. They briefly lived there until September, when they moved to Lauderdale Courts. Elvis’ grandmother, Minnie Mae Presley, continued living at the Poplar address,
according to the 1950 Memphis City Directory. City directories list homes and businesses by street throughout the city.
Looking east down Poplar Avenue at High Street in Memphis around 1955. The
distinctive twin gable home on the right shows up in the background of the
Vanity Fair photo.
Sanborn Insurance map of Poplar Avenue showing the Presley’s
early homes and neighborhood from 1948 to 1949.
The 1950 directory also shows the S&S Drug Store, Lando Marossi restaurant and Milo’s liquor store that appear in the Vanity Fair photo. John Sampietro, whose father operated
the S&S Drug Store at the corner of Poplar and High Street, remembered his father talking about how a young Elvis would come into the store to play pinball.
S&S Drug Store building today at 548 Poplar Avenue in Memphis.
Milo Solomito operated the liquor store just across the street from the drug store and his son, Milo Jr., identified the store in the photo as the one his father ran for many years. To
the right of the liquor store was the Marossi restaurant, which was also located across the street from the drug store before moving to a nearby location in 1954, according to Jerry
Marossi.

This was Elvis’ neighborhood for almost a year before moving to Lauderdale Courts in the fall of 1949.

Although not taken in Tupelo, the photo is one of the earliest photos of Elvis in Memphis, a city he would call home for the rest of his life.

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GRACELAND page