Lauderdale Courts is the only place that offers you the chance to live like a king. Not just any royal–but The King. Lauderdale Courts, located in downtown Memphis, was the home of Elvis Presley from 1949 to 1953–The King's impressionable teenage years. Vernon Presley, his wife Gladys, and their young son Elvis moved into 185 Winchester, Apt. 328, a 689-square-foot, two-bedroom apartment with a kitchen and living room. Today, guests can stay overnight in the very same unit, which features vintage furniture and bathroom fixtures, reproductions of Presley family photos, and memorabilia.
The Presleys weren't the property's first residents. Lauderdale Courts was built in 1938 as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration program and was one of the country's first public housing projects. The property, which consists of 66 red brick buildings on a 22-acre site, was designed by a host of leading Memphis architects including J. Frazer Smith, Walk C. Jones Sr., Edwin B. Phillips, and George Awsumb. Under the management of the Memphis Housing Authority, the project featured parquet floors, indoor bathrooms, landscaped courtyards, and modern kitchens.
Many believe that Elvis' stay at Lauderdale influenced his music and unique style. The apartment was close to major venues where Elvis listened to famous blues artists. Elvis was known for practicing guitar in the apartment's basement laundry room. Lauderdale Courts also was a mile away from Sun Studio, the legendary music studio where Elvis made his first recordings.
By the 1990s, though, Lauderdale Courts had lost the sparkle and shine of its heyday and was slated for demolition. But the building was saved by some die-hard Elvis fans, the City of Memphis, local developers Jack Belz and Henry Turley, and the Memphis Heritage preservation organization. It's now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Now known as Uptown Square, it's considered the city's hippest new address after a $36 million renovation.