Elvis’ Circle G Ranch — Part 1

Last week, I mentioned that Elvis had his own little private trailer village tucked away in the far reaches of his Circle G Ranch in Mississippi.  His foray into cowboy communal living is an interesting story, especially because spring 1967 was probably the happiest period of his life.

When the Circle G Foundation asked me to write an article about the ranch, I started searching the web and various Elvis books to learn all I could about the ranch.  I found lots of Circle G Ranch pictures, and the most common topic is some variation of this:

 

Grass in Front

This is called the ranch house, and it has declined a lot in the forty-five years since Elvis was last in it.

 

Street right in front

I didn’t help when the highway was moved practically up to the house.  It was a flower shop when this picture was taken.

 

Back side of house

After decades of neglect and abuse, the Circle G ranch house is ripped up and falling apart.  The inside photos are even sadder.  If the Foundation gets enough support to entice a wealthy fan/benefactor to buy this place, they plan to rehabilitate the ranch house as the Visitors’ Center for their projected amenities at the ranch.

Elvis and Priscilla started out using the ranch house immediately after purchasing the property on February 9, 1967.  But Elvis liked having his buddies around, and he figured the way to do that was to buy eight house trailers and have them installed on poured concrete pads near the lake.  Plumbing and electrical power systems were installed, and a septic system was dug.  It was like Elvis had built his own little “Memphis Mafia Village.”

 

Better guess at location

This is an aerial view taken some years after Elvis owned the Circle G.  The ranch house is essentially hidden by tree cover at the top left of the picture.  The building and swimming pool in the peninsula jutting out into the lake were not there when Elvis was.  The upper oval marks where the house trailers were located.  During Elvis’ time, there appeared to have been more trees along the fence line behind the trailers.  The arrow above shows the approximate location of the famous E P barbeque grill.

BBQ

 

Priscilla probably was very happy to have the accommodations for the guys set way back on the 163 acre property.  The roll of the land created a high spot of pasture that blocked the view of the lake and the trailers from the house.   However, Elvis seems to have really loved hanging out with his buddies in the trailer area.  As a result, on March 3, he ordered one more two-bedroom trailer for him and Priscilla.

Two days later, he took off for Los Angeles for the planned start of filming on Clambake.  However, there were production delays and Elvis suffered a minor concussion from a fall in the bathroom of the Rocca Place home he rented.  A week later, Jerry Schilling got married in Palm Springs, and of course, Elvis and Priscilla attended.

Elvis probably returned to the ranch for a few days before principle filming for Clambake finally began on March 20.  His trailer would have been set up and functioning when he arrived there, so this is when Elvis’ Circle G experience changed from the ranch house to the house trailer.

Circle G Trailers 1

Circle G Trailers 2

Circle G Trailers 3

Circle G Trailers 4

Circle G Trailers 5

 

Sorry for the poor quality of these pictures.  I was lucky to find any at all.  It’s almost like Elvis banished cameras from the ranch when he and his buddies were there.  The website where I found these photos offers proof this was one of the Circle G trailers Elvis bought, but they can’t say for sure it was the one Elvis and Priscilla used.  However, we do know Elvis had a front porch built on theirs, so this may be it.

Clambake filming paused sometime in early April 1967, and Elvis was able to enjoy about three straight weeks on the ranch.  It could be argued that this was the happiest time of his life.  We will look into this in more detail next week with Part 2 of our series on Elvis’ Circle G Ranch.

 

©  2013    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

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10 Responses to Elvis’ Circle G Ranch — Part 1

  1. interesting, I know in Maryland where I am from that house trailers are titled like cars…wonder where they went??…I have done 4 yrs researching Elvis …Thank You

    • Hi David: It is possible that Leslie Pilling of The Circle G Foundation has information on these trailer title numbers. If you’d like to contact her,
      her email address is lesley.pilling@talktalk.net.

      Have you uncovered anything in your four years of researching Elvis that you’d like to share with the fans. Maybe it would make a good ElvisBlog comment.

      Phil Arnold, ElvisBlogmeister

  2. Dear sir, I am sorry to inform you but your location of the famous “EP” barbeque grill is not in the location that your map suggests. Unless it was moved later on, which I doubt, because it is made of concrete and bricks ! I know this for a fact because I live directly behind the property – and have for ten years and I took a walk around the grill yesterday! It is not on the east side of the lake, but south of the lake and south of that road that you see coming onto the property ( from Hwy 301). It is closer to that first group of trees that you come to – coming down that road, south of the road ( or on the right side of the road. It looks exactly as the picture shows with the smokestack knocked down , the “P” is missing but the “E” is still there, and I know this because I took the exact same picture with my phone! sincerely James

    • Hi James: Thanks for your message. You’ve been there to see it and I haven’t. If you could copy the map to Paint and mark the proper location of the barbecue grill and email it to me, I will update it on the blog post.

      Phil Arnold, Original ElvisBlogmeister

  3. A real good job!, a great job! I’m a Elvis fan because Elvis always reminded me of myself except I didn’t have his looks or his talent. He seem to do things just the way I would would have done them. Maybe it’s because we both were raised as and only child and loved our Mother and Daddy. I have written two songs aout Elvis. One called (Merry Christmas Elvis) and the other one called (From Rages To Riches). I wish I could find someone to record them for all the Elvis Fans. Elvis had a God given talent but it never went to his head, if he had money his friends had money. He loved helping his friends out, he also helped alot of other people out, he never judged a man by the color of his skin or the cloths he wore, or the amount of money he had. He alway judged a man by his heart. August/16/1977 we lost a great man, one I’ll never forget. I was employed by the Bapist Hospital in Memphis TN. as a BMET and stood about eight foot from room # 1 while Dr. Nick worked trying to save Elvis life. I have written a short true story about what I saw take place that day. If you would like to read it just email me. I also now own some of the medical equipment Dr. Nick used trying to save Elvis life and have place it in a Museum for all the Elvis fans to see. It’s been on loan for the past 11 years under a loan contract which expires August 10. 2014. I will email you pictures of the Medical Equipment if you would like to see it. Thank you very much for the work you have done for all the Elvis fans.
    August 16/1977 was a sad day for Memphis and the whole world because we lost a legend in out time with a God given taltent.
    Yours–James McQueen (Mac)

    • James, if you still come to this site, please email me. I am interested in your songs. No, I am not a singer, but I know someone who is and who is VERY close to Elvis so he may be interested in the songs and pictures of what you have as he has a lot also. If you see this, please contact me.

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