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The City of Tupelo in Mississippi
- July 24-25, 2014

map of Mississippi showing location of Tupelo

Tupelo is the the largest city of Lee County, Mississippi. It is also the seventh-largest city in the state. It is situated in northeast Mississippi, between Memphis, Tennessee, and Birmingham, Alabama.

This city is best known as the birthplace of Elvis Presley. As a one-year-old in Tupelo on April 5, 1936, Elvis Presley and his family survived a tornado that was ranked as the fourth deadliest in United States history. The tornado took 216 lives.

Welcome to Tupelo sign

The entrance to Tupelo Fair Park and Tupelo City Hall located just behind the park.

entrance to Tupelo Fair Park
Tupelo City Hall
sign about the Piominto statue
Piominto statue

Although Elvis Presley was always too polite to say it, leaving his hometown of Tupelo was the best thing that ever happened to him. After he became rich and famous in Memphis and Nashville, he returned to Tupelo in 1956 to perform at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show. Elvis was greeted on stage by the governor, and later was photographed reaching out to touch the hands of adorning fans.

In 2012 sculptor Bill Beck with unveiled a bronze statue of Elvis, posed as he was in the photograph, standing pretty much on exactly the same spot. The statue joins a list of other bronze Elvis statues in Honolulu, Shreveport, Las Vegas, and Memphis, all of them different. Elvis has more statues that most U.S. Presidents.

The statue was designed to encourage people to touch Elvis's hand, and Karen, Lee, an Ilse instinctively reached up to do just that.

Karen, Lee and Ilse got to hold the hand of Elvis. As usual, Karen was the most enthusiastic!

Karen eagerly hodling Elvis Presley's hand
Lee Duqeuette holding Elvis Presley's hand
Ilse Blahak holding Elvis Presley's hand

Below: Signs on benches in the park. Note about the first sign: Lisa Marie Presley has been married four times. In 1988, she married musician Danny Keough, with whom she had a son and a daughter. She was then married to pop singer Michael Jackson and briefly to actor Nicolas Cage, before marrying music producer Michael Lockwood, father of her twin girls.

sign on a park bench
sign on a park bench
sign about Elvis Presley and Tupelo

The Alzheimer's Tree at Tupelo Fair Park has dog tags hanging from with people's names. Karen and Ilse's mother had Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's Tree sign
Alzheimer's Tree
Alzheimer's Tree

Meet Sissy and her Popsy stand. Such a nice, polite, smiley, helpful lady that makes great popsicles and sells them just outside of the gate at Tupelo Fair Park.

Sissy and her Popsy stand
guitar by Tupelo Fair Park

history clipart bookTupelo Hardware Co. Inc. is a hardware store in Tupelo, Mississippi that is credited with selling Elvis Presley's mother, Gladys, his first guitar. The business is still located at the corner of Main Street and Front Street in downtown Tupelo and still sells guitars. Tupelo Hardware Company is a family business owned and managed by three generations of the Booth family. The original business was founded in 1926 by George H. Booth, and later incorporated in 1969 by the founder and his son William, who worked with his father after his return from World War II until his father's death in 1973. William and his son, George H. Booth II, worked together from 1976 until William's death in 2000.

Tupelo Hardware sign
Tupelo Hardware sign

history clipart bookTupelo Hardware looks much the same as it did in 1946, when 11-year-old Elvis Presley came in with his mom. Gladys Presley wanted to buy her son a birthday-present bicycle. Elvis wanted her to buy him a rifle. The well-stocked store sold both, but since neither party was happy with the other's idea of a gift, a compromise was reached.

Mom bought Elvis a guitar.

The store still has the same wood floors and oak-stained, glass-fronted counters, which now are just as likely to be stocked with Elvis sweatshirts and collectibles as drain cleaner and wrench sets. The store no longer sells bicycles (or guns), but in honor of its most famous customer it still sells guitars. The Elvis guitar never returned, but the store displays a photo of it on the wall where the original once hung. The spot where Elvis stood is marked with an X of duct tape, and high above the service desk hangs a portrait of The King made from buttons.

The two RV Gypsies walking  in the town of Tupelo, MS
sign about Elvis
sign about Elvis and the Fairgrounds

Karen Duquette really liked the metal bench shown below because of the heart and faces.

metal bench
metal bench
a neat alley way
Tupelo flag sign

There were guitars on sidewalks on both sides of the main street in Tupelo. They were all 2-sided, and usually different on each side.

Elivs painted guitar
Elivs painted guitar
Tupelo painted guitar
painted guitar
painted guitar
painted guitar
pink cadillac painted guitar
Elvis painted guitar
Elvis painted guitar
Elvis painted guitar
painted guitar by Johnnies Drive In
Johnnies Drive in plaque

Below: The oldest restaurant in Tupelo, MS. When Elvis Presley was in elementary school in Tupelo, he liked to stop at Johnnie's Bar-B-Que Drive-In for a cheeseburger and an RC Cola. Johnnie's is still a working burger joint, and one of its well-worn wooden booths is identified as "The Elvis Booth" with a gold plaque. Above it, among much Presleyabilia, hangs a photo of a young Elvis sitting in the very same booth.

You can still order a cheeseburger at Johnnie's, although it no longer sells RC Cola (a bad business decision on someone's part). The place is small, and it is a popular eatery with the locals, so you may not actually get to sit in The Elvis Booth when you visit.

Johnnies Drive in Cafe.
Johnnies Drive in Cafe.

Footprints sign in a store window

two beaded guitars in a store window

Footprints sign in a store window
two beaded guitars in a store window

Above photos by Karen Duquette and Ilse Blahak

Menu for the two RV Gypsies in Tupelo, Mississippi
July 24-25, 2014
You may visit these five (5) sections in any order.
Or you can proceed to West Memphis, Arkansas

Tupelo, Mississippi (this page)

The Birthplace of Elvis Presley

Campground at Barnes Crossing

Tombigbee State Park

Tupelo Automobile Museum - Elvis' schools

choose a new page from below

go to the next adventure of the two RV  GypsiesAFTER you have viewed all five (5) sections above, please continue on to Tom Sawyers RV Park and lots of barges on the Mississippi River and more