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News createt: 18-11-2010

Elvis' Army Haircut Building Up For Historic Places Nomination


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The building at Chaffee Crossing where Elvis Presley, then an Army inductee, received his first military haircut is being considered for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places.

Designated Building 803 on old Fort Chaffee grounds, the building is among 12 sites that will be considered when the State Review Board of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program meets Dec. 1 in Little Rock.

The building is home to the Chaffee Barbershop Museum, an attraction that commemorates not only the 1958 Presley haircut, but other historical events at the Army facility. The museum is restored to its appearance at the time of the haircut.

Carolyn Joyce with the Fort Smith Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the museum, opened in 2008, features photographs and memorabilia highlighting Chaffee's military mission as a World War II training facility, its use as an internment camp for German prisoners of war, its mission as a settlement camp for Vietnamese refugees in the 1970s and Cuban refugees in the 1980s. The camp's more recent service in the evacuation and relocation of families fleeing Gulf coast hurricanes is also celebrated.

But Joyce, who recruits and organizes the volunteers who serve as museum tour guides, said it is the Elvis connection that resonates most with visitors. She said in 2009, more than 23,000 people signed the register at the museum, an even more impressive total considering the facility was then open only three days a week.

The CVB has had some success in publicizing the museum as a must-see venue for national and international visitors traveling to and from Memphis to visit Presley's home, Graceland. Joyce said the museum is open daily for annual Elvis activities coinciding with Presley's birthday in January and "Elvis Week," an annual memorial celebration for the singer held each August.

The museum also hosts an annual celebration to coincide with the March 25, 1958, haircut.

Joyce said the museum at 7313 Terry St. at Chaffee Crossing is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. There is no admission cost, but donations are accepted.

Other area sites considered for nomination are the Jones Memorial Methodist Church at Hartford and Union School near Hagarville.

Source: Garrett