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Last Updated: Monday, 27 March 2006, 09:29 GMT 10:29 UK
Graceland given 'landmark' status
Elvis Presley's former home, Graceland
More than 600,000 people visit Graceland annually
Graceland, Elvis Presley's former home in the US city of Memphis, is to be designated a national landmark.

The "exceptional" house will receive the special status because it has "meaning to all Americans", according to the US Interior Department.

It was purchased by Presley in 1957 for $103,000 (59,000) with earnings from his first hit, Heartbreak Hotel.

Graceland attracts more than 600,000 visitors each year, and becomes one of approximately 2,500 such "landmarks".

This is the highest level of recognition that can be awarded to a historic property in the US.

Elvis Presley in 1957
Elvis Presley bought the house in 1957 with earnings from his first hit

'In own class'

"Graceland is so famous it is arguable that on a worldwide basis, it is the second most famous home in America," said Elvis Presley Enterprises chief executive Jack Soden.

"You go to the far corners of the Earth, and they don't really know what Mount Vernon or Monticello or Hearst Castle are, but they know what Graceland is. It is kind of in a class of its own."

The 14-acre estate includes an exhibition of Presley's possessions, a display of his platinum and gold discs, a car museum and a chapel.

Interior Secretary Gale Norton is to lead a ceremony in Memphis which will make the designation official.

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