Foundation wants to build Elvis statue at ranch - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Foundation wants to build Elvis statue at ranch

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HORN LAKE, Miss. (FOX13) -

There is no sign to designate what his horse ranch in Horn Lake, Miss., once was and what it meant to Elvis Presley.

But for five years whenever he could find the time Elvis had his own nirvana, a more than 160 acre ranch where even the King of Rock n' Roll could feel to just be like an "everyman."

When they wed 46 years ago this month, it seemed just the beginning of a never-ending love story. For the King of Rock n' Roll and his princess Priscilla, the glare of a Las Vegas wedding was soon about to give way to the temporary tranquility of a place both were enamored with the instant they'd seen it.

A grassy fortress of solitude both christened the Circle G Ranch in Horn Lake.

"They got married in Vegas on May 1, 1967," recalls Sue Mack, Circle G Foundation member. "They'd already bought the ranch in February and spent part of their honeymoon at the ranch. They loved horses. They loved the space and privacy it gave them.

"The ranch gave him more space than Graceland," Mack added. "I mean he had his privacy at Graceland but, yet, if he went out riding it was 13 acres. The ranch was 163, I think, originally."

But, just as in Elvis' and Priscilla's fairytale romance, the ravages and erosions of time, attitudes and tender caring, have taken their destructive toll on the beloved ranch Elvis parted with in 1972. Although falling into disrepair, there are still distant traces of the winding riding trails and raw beauty of water and foliage that served as a piece of heaven for a king.

Now a growing group of Elvis fans are taking up the banner of encouraging the eventual refurbishment of the ranch.

Mack, of Memphis and a representative of the two-year-old Circle G Foundation, is spearheading the local effort by appearing before the Horn Lake Board of Aldermen two weeks with a proposal of erecting a cowboy clad statue of Elvis in one of the city parks. The statue would be an estimated $55,000 to create and it could lure a new progressive buyer for the $3.9 million ranch.

"We believe that there is someone out there who has the money, who wants to see it saved and will partner with us," Mack said.

Mack said the statue project could be a fundraising mechanism. Bricks that would be part of the exhibit could be sold to donors. That would raise money for restoration of the ranch. Mack says the statue could help draw tourism to the Horn Lake area.

Yet, even the first step of the plan remains a tricky one. Although, Horn Lake Mayor Nat Baker says Mack made a fine presentation, a major sticking point could emanate from those in charge of Elvis' more famous property acquisition.

"We wanted to make sure she had permission, a copyright deal with Elvis Presley Productions or whatever," Mayor Baker said.

With as poor a track record as developing the ranch has been for other entrepreneurs, Mayor Baker's caution is prudent. Ideas to build condominiums, a country club, a restaurant and an eternal flame memorial have all fallen flat over the years.

"People come through the door with different ideas," the mayor of Horn Lake said. "Different proposals. Multi-billion dollar plans. Everything that I have heard from people coming through the door have not worked."

But, the Circle G Foundation remains optimistic that this time the power of Elvis' fans will pump new life into a never ending love story.

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