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:
This is called the ranch house, and it has declined a lot in the forty-five years since Elvis was last in it.
I didn’t help when the highway was moved practically up to the house. It was a flower shop when this picture was taken.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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