Tupelo

Overview

Introduction

Once a railroad hub, Tupelo sits in the fertile farmland of northeastern Mississippi. It was the site of a Civil War battle in 1864, which is commemorated at the Tupelo National Battlefield (the site is only one acre/one-half hectare in sizeā€”the majority of the actual battlefield is not preserved). Memorabilia from other wars is on display at the Tupelo War Museum. But Tupelo is probably better known as the birthplace of Elvis Presley, who was born in a small house on the outskirts of town in 1935. (The house was later repossessed, and the Presleys relocated to Memphis when Elvis was a teenager.) The home has been preserved and is open for tours. Tour may be the wrong word, as the tiny two-room house is so small even the most leisurely visit takes little more than five minutes. Next door is the Elvis Presley Museum, which contains such memorabilia as some of the performer's Las Vegas jumpsuits, poems to his daughter and his motorcycle boots. There's also a gift shop and a memorial chapel. These Tupelo Elvis sights can't compare to Graceland in Memphis, but if you have any interest in the King, or in rags-to-riches stories in general, this will give you a good feel for Elvis' humble beginnings. Die-hard fans may want to hit town in early June for the annual Elvis Presley Festival.

Many have made note of African-American influence on Elvis' singing. That said, it is perhaps fitting that Tupelo is the home of the African American Museum, Gallery & Library. The museum houses artifacts, photographs and artwork (from both contemporary and historical artists).

Tupelo also has something for fans of classic vehicles at the 100,000-sq-ft/9,300-sq-m Tupelo Auto Museum. The largest buffalo herd east of the Mississippi can be found grazing at the Tupelo Buffalo Park. 165 mi/265 km northeast of Jackson.

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