Elvis Presley Birthplace: Statues, picnic area next for birthplace expansion

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Two Elvis statues are in the works for the Elvis Presley Birthplace.
The statues are part of phase two of the birthplace’s $6.3 million expansion, and those plans were shown in detail to fans at a birthday party for The King on Tuesday afternoon at the Elvis Presley Birthplace Theater.
“We’re putting an emphasis on Elvis the boy instead of Elvis the entertainer,” birthplace chairman Henry Dodge told the crowd. “Elvis the boy is our story.”
A bronze statue of 11-year-old Elvis sitting on a milk crate will be placed at the overlook behind the birthplace.
Behind him will be a bronze statue of Elvis the entertainer, “in full regalia,” including a cape, Dodge said, with his arms outstretched and head tilted toward the sky.
That’s the pose Elvis took when he closed his concerts.
“It’s not just the end of the concert, but the end of a life, looking up at the heavens,” Dodge said.
It will be a large statue “because he’s bigger than life,” he said.
Both the child and adult statues will be placed in bronze soil to signify both the boy and the entertainer came from the same roots.
The two statues together are one piece of art called “Becoming.”
Phase two also includes a nine-table picnic area that can seat more than 50 people and will include a fireplace and more parking.
This phase of the project is estimated to cost between $750,000 to $1 million, and fundraising should begin soon. The project will start soon after the funds are raised.
Phase one included more a 126-seat indoor theater, an amphitheater, extra parking and more. A face-lift for the gift shop is the last step in phase one and will be completed in the coming weeks.
There is already a statue of Elvis, called “Elvis at 13,” at the Birthplace.
sheena.barnett@journalinc.com