Each year Graceland draws Elvis fans from all over the world who come to see how one of America’s only kings lived, but one pair of Roanoke, Virginia superfans could not stand to be away from the musical mecca and built their own miniature version right in next to their house.
The tiny Elvis city was the brainchild of Don Epperly and his wife Kim who set out to create a hunka-hunka burnin’ homage to Presley’s legacy beginning in the 1980s. The Epperleys began with simply a miniature replica of Graceland itself and slowly added to the model landmarks at the pace of about a building a year. Soon the collection included other landmarks such as replicas of famous concert halls where The King had performed and even a little version of the Elvis Presley Car Museum. The tiny houses were put on display on the small bit of land next to their house, eventually becoming a novelty site along local bus tours.
Don worked on creating the structures each year until his failing health saw him unable to continue, but the existing buildings remained standing. Epperly eventually passed away leaving no one directly in charge of the mini Graceland, and the site quickly fell into disrepair. Thanks to the efforts of a group known as the Salem Garden Club, the buildings were eventually somewhat refurbished; however, the ravages of time and the lack of Don and Kim’s love for the project could not be completely forgotten.
Today the run-down buildings of Miniature Graceland still stand. Visitors can now find a golden statue of Elvis himself in the front yard, welcoming guests and gently soliciting donations to keep the site alive. A little cash is a small price to pay for the big love put into the buildings.