Lee County supervisors agreed Monday to allow a monument honoring Elvis Presley to be placed on the courthouse lawn, one of a series of memorials to be part of a driving tour through Tupelo.
The courthouse monument would mark Presley's appearance on a live jamboree radio show broadcast from the southeast corner of the courthouse in the mid-1940s. The Tupelo native who was to become the king of rock and roll sang his first song on live radio during a Mississippi Slim's program on WELO during one of the jamborees, the Tupelo Convention & Visitors Bureau informed supervisors.
CVB officials said the monument would consist of a plaque reading: "In 1946 Tupelo radio station WELO broadcast weekly music jamborees from the Courthouse. Mississippi Slim, who had his own show on WELO, arranged for Elvis to perform at the jamboree. Elvis' dream was to become as famous as Mississippi Slim and to have his own radio show one day."
The CVB will put up the memorial. The plaques feature an image of a young Presley carrying a guitar, a representation on the statue that stands outside his birthplace in east Tupelo. The Courthouse marker will be one of four to be placed this year at locations that were significant in Presley's life.
Five have already been put in place marking Tupelo Hardware, Mayhorn Grocery, Lawhon Elementary school, Milam Junior High school and Johnnie's Drive In, CVB assistant director Pat Rasberry wrote county officials. All are of the same size and dimension. Another will be placed at the old Tupelo fairgrounds.
In other action, the board agreed to act as applicant for a grant to support the new Faith Haven facility on Roebuck Road in Tupelo. The grant, requiring a 50 percent local match, would help cover the cost of utilities and road work at the facility. Supervisors said they would pave the street, a $12,247 in-kind contribution, as part of the local match.
(By Philip Moulden, Daily Journal - October 22, 2002)