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CIRCLE G RANCH SEEKS HISTORIC DESIGNATION
August 25,  2017   -   Commercial Appeal  /   Elvis Express Radio
Elvis Presley's Circle G Ranch already has a place in the hearts of the faithful, but now the property's owners want it to have a place among the nation's historic sites.

The process to nominate the DeSoto County ranch for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places is underway, and Circle G owners hope to gain approval by early next
year.

"We're thinking the soonest it might happen would be February, which would be pretty cool because February is the month Elvis bought it," said Whitney Lee, a spokeswoman for
the group redeveloping the ranch. "That means we could announce it the month of the 51st anniversary of Elvis buying it."

The ranch, in Horn Lake, was a getaway spot for Elvis when he wanted a break from Graceland. Elvis and Priscilla spent part of their honeymoon at the ranch in 1967, just after
Elvis bought it.

Davage "Buddy" Runnels Jr., a Destin, Florida-based real estate developer, bought the ranch in 2014 and plans to redevelop it over time as a tourist destination to complement
Graceland.

Archaeologists from Prentice & Associates Inc. began researching and documenting the site's history when Runnels bought the property. However, the nomination was withheld until
this year, 50 years since Elvis purchased the property, because sites must be at least 50 years old to be considered for the National Register.

Moving forward with the nomination in 2017 also worked out nicely because it coincides with the 40th anniversary of Elvis' death, Lee said.

The first step in the nominating process is submitting a preliminary evaluation to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, followed by the formal National Register
documentation.

Review at the state level is expected to take at least 90 days. Once feedback and approval have been received at the state level, the nomination can be submitted to the National
Register of Historic Places. Federal review can take 45 days.

Graceland, about 10 miles to the north in Memphis, received National Register designation in 1991.

The 231-acre tract at Miss. 301 and Goodman Road fell into disrepair over the years since Presley's death. Previous promises to redevelop the site never materialized, but Runnels
bought the property in 2014 and last year outlined a long-term vision that includes preserving the Honeymoon Cottage, the stables, a 14-acre lake and a prominent 55-foot-tall
cross.

Lee said thousands flocked to the site during last week's 40th anniversary events in Memphis, giving a hint of the site's potential after redevelopment. She said members of the
redevelopment team are in DeSoto County this week talking about infrastructure issues.


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