Elvis Presley's Audubon Drive House Sold for $905,100
May 17, 2006
'We are unbelievably pleased. This is a piece of history', Geller said by phone from England.
'We intend to restore it to its old glory. We would like to bring sick children there (for tours), Palestinian children, Israeli children, American children", the Israeli-born Geller said. "Hopefully one day we might get approval to turn it into a museum'.
Presley bought the four-bedroom, two-bath house at 1034 Audubon Drive in Memphis in 1956 with a down payment of $500. He lived there for 13 months before moving to Graceland, the now-famous Memphis estate where he died in 1977.
During his time in the white, ranch-style house with an outdoor swimming pool, Presley's career took off with hits such as 'All Shook Up' and 'Don't be cruel'.
Geller identified the sellers as Mike and Cindy Hazen, who bought the house some years ago, though not from Presley, for about $180,000.
Geller had original bid $300,000 last month but a bidding war ensued and the price ballooned, he said. During the process he was approached by dozens of people wanting to go in with him, he said. He chose two, New York lawyer Pete Gleason and Lisbeth Silvandersson, a Swedish-born jewelry maker who lives in England, as equal partners.
He had set a ceiling price of $1.11 million, said Geller, who acknowledges a paranormal fascination with the number 11.
'As the clock closed on the bidding Sunday", Geller said, "I felt intuitively I got the price. I was text messaging Gleason and it was exactly 11 on my mobile phone and suddenly the radio started playing an Elvis song. That was Elvis telling me we got the house!'
Geller met Presley in Las Vegas in the 1970s after the 'King of Rock and Roll' asked him to perform his 'spoon bending' trick for him, he said. Since then he has amassed a large collection of Presley memorabilia, he said.
1034 Audubon Drive
In 1956, Elvis Presley exploded on the national charts with songs like 'Hound Dog' and 'Don't Be Cruel'. His appearances on the Ed Sullivan, Milton Berle, and Steve Allan Shows made him a household name. When he came home from these now famous recording sessions, tv shows, and the filming of his first two movies, he didn't return to Graceland, his famous mansion...
Elvis came home to a simple suburban ranch house in East Memphis This, the first home he bought, was the American dream. This is the home he bought for his mother scarcely three years after the family left federally subsidized housing. Given the improvements he made to the house, we believe he would have stayed if the crush of fame and fans hadn't demanded he seek the privacy offered by Graceland.
It was here, while living at 1034 Audubon Drive, that Elvis defined the 50s', where his influence changed everything about music, style, and youth culture. Here, at the start of his career, more professional photographs were taken than were ever taken at Graceland for the rest of his life. Some of these images are so famous they've become synonymous with him, and they are remarkable because they capture ordinary, un-posed family moments: his mother handing him a clean pair of underwear, sipping a soft drink on the patio, wrestling in a half-filled pool.
It is these photographs that place Elvis in nearly every room and document how little the house has changed. It is a home still frozen in time.
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