Graceland upstairs – Behind Elvis’ drapes at the top of the stairs

Jane McDonald overwhelmed at visiting Graceland

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When Elvis Presley moved his family from 1034 Audubon Drive to Graceland in 1957, the rising star really wanted to protect his privacy. He had an open house policy for his Memphis Mafia, but you had to be specially invited upstairs into his private dwellings. Up there was his sanctuary and at the heart of it, a bedroom. The space has no windows and air conditioning so cold that guests would be given jackets to stay warm.

Access at the top of the first-floor landing was obstructed by a privacy wall, featuring one-way mirrors so that Elvis could see who was on the other side.

If you take a Graceland tour today, you can just about see these from the bottom of the staircase by the entrance to the mansion. But have you ever wondered what was behind the drapes at the top of the stairs?

Elvis’ cousin and last surviving original Memphis Mafia member Billy Smith was asked about this during a previous Q&A on his YouTube channel.

The question was: “What is directly on the other side of the block wall with the drapes that’s at the first landing of the stairs at Graceland?”

At first Billy joked: “Well they got a real big statue of Elvis and it’s back behind there.”

Answering the question seriously, he said: “No, what it was, he put it up there to kind of blend in and cover-up in with the interior downstairs. And at that time it was red. Behind it was a door and this door led out to a little balcony that was over the top of the Jungle Room.”

This makes sense as in 1960, Elvis extended the house with the Jungle Room, which he called The Den. Originally this was a screened-in porch that was then closed off as a room a few years later on. There was even a plan for a conference room above, however, this was never completed after The King’s sudden death in 1977.

Aside from the door behind the drapes, fans visiting Graceland often ask about where the first-floor door on the left goes if the one on the right goes up to Elvis’ bedroom. previously took part in a virtual tour of Graceland last year and archivist Angie Marchese showed us by walking through it.

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Meanwhile, the camera stayed downstairs and went into the kitchen to find that she had come down the stairs into that room.

Angie explained this was how Elvis would come downstairs to the kitchen when he was hungry. There he could pick up some snacks for himself and even his famous peanut butter banana sandwiches.

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