Why The Public Isn't Allowed Upstairs At Graceland

One of the stops on the list of just about every tourist passing through Memphis, Tennesse is a quick trip through Elvis Presley's famous abode, Graceland. According to Biography, as many as half a million people visit Graceland, making it one of the most visited homes in the United States, second only to the White House.

Graceland is more than just where Elvis lived, it's also where he is buried. According to People, after attempts were made to steal the King of Rock 'n' Roll's body, the choice was made to move both Presley's and his mom Gladys' bodies to Graceland. His father, Vernon, is buried there as well and there is also a monument for Elvis' twin brother Jessie, who was stillborn.

According to Graceland's website, visitors can join group tours — or take tours at their own pace guided by iPads — that take them around the property's grounds, into the mansion itself, and even have the chance to check out his fleet of cars. However, there's one part of Graceland that isn't part of any tour: the mansion's second floor.

Elvis' History with Graceland

While Graceland has become synonymous with Elvis, he wasn't the property's original owner, and — perhaps even more surprising — he didn't come up with the name, either. The 14-acre estate was once part of a larger, 500-acre property and was owned by the S.E. Toof family, per the Graceland website. The property was named after one of the female family members — no prize for guessing what her first name was — and the mansion was first built in 1939. The house's original owners were Ruth Brown Moore and Dr. Thomas Moore. The family was well known in Memphis in their day, and while they're not Graceland's most famous residents, they did start the trend of musicians calling it home, as their daughter played harp in the Memphis Symphony Orchestra.

Elvis bought Graceland in 1957, fairly early in his career, for $102, 500 (just under $1 million today), per Biography. Elvis had a massively successful year leading up to the purchase with numerous television appearances and high record sales. When he put pen to paper on buying Graceland, he was making a jump to film, and working on his second movie, "Loving You."

During Elvis' lifetime, he expanded the mansion from its original 10,000 square feet when he purchased it, to around 17,000 square feet. While it was still the King's private residence, it hosted countless friends and family members, who sometimes stayed outside the mansion in other accommodations on the property.

Graceland's second floor

A few years after Elvis' 1977 death at the age of 42, Graceland opened its doors to the public — at least most of them. According to People, ever since the first tour groups went through Graceland in 1982, one section of the house has been entirely off-limits. Graceland's second floor is where Elvis' master suite was located and during his lifetime, it was a restricted area. This was one of the few places where he could get some privacy, so only those closest to him were permitted to enter.

Elvis died in the bathroom off the master suite, and that's a major reason why no one — outside of ex-wife Priscilla, his daughter Lisa Marie, and the property curator — is allowed up there. The concern was that visitors would become overly occupied by the bathroom where Elvis was found dead than with celebrating his life.

While just about everyone who has ever asked to go upstairs has been turned away, one big Elvis fan was granted permission. Nicolas Cage was once married to Lisa Marie Presley and during their marriage, Cage — who according to Express, has named Elvis as one of his heroes, alongside David Bowie — was allowed to check out the King's private refuge.