Birthplace of Elvis

Mississippi / Feb. 28, 2012 / by Chris
Birthplace of Elvis

Every town and city we pass through has its own character, a flavor that is palpable almost as soon as you pass the city limits. And there's no flavor quite like that of a small town that got accidentally famous.

Such is the flavor of Tupelo, Mississippi, a town that Elton John once described as "empty as the moon" and birthplace of Elvis Presley, the widely proclaimed king of rock and roll. Tupelo is clearly fond of its progeny, with brightly decorated Elvis guitars lining the streets the way cows line the streets of New York City. That being said, the town doesn't let its celebrity define the entire Tupelo character; behind the touristy signs of a town grown just a bit too much for its population is the small-town charm of slow moving weekends, friendly faces, and businesses closed Sunday mornings because pretty much everyone is in church.

Even Elvis' birthplace, one of the two main attractions in Tupelo, is as much a monument to small-town living and the old, simpler way of life as it is a museum for Elvis' history. We had a chance to visit the historic site today before leaving Tupelo, touring the museum as well as Elvis' childhood home and church.  For those whose image of 'the king' is a somewhat rotund man in a sparkling jumpsuit playing to sold-out crowds, it's nice to be reminded that he began as a small town boy in the poverty of the Great Depression, singing solos in church and playing on local radio. For me, it's another reminder of what Bus 52 finds all over the place: no matter where you're from, a little bit of talent and a dream can do some amazing things in this country.

We're off to Meridian, MS - you can follow our progress live at