On June 26, 1977, Elvis Presley’s final public performance was held in front of nearly 18,000 screaming fans inside the Market Square Arena, which used to dominate this block of Circle City. Six weeks later, Elvis died, at his home in Graceland. Though the arena and Elvis are both long gone, the Elvis Presley memorial plaque, twice dedicated, remains.
The $10,000 plaque and base, placed by the Taking Care of Presley Memorial Benefit Committee, enshrines a ticket stub from the event and a sun-faded photograph of the arena. Inside is a time capsule with a scarf that Elvis tossed to an adoring fan, a cassette recording of the performance, a book of tour photos, a Graceland promotional catalog, and hundreds of handwritten notes about what Elvis meant to people. The time capsule is intended to be opened 100 years after the re-dedication, on June 26, 2102.
The scarf was donated by Kay Lipps, a woman who was seated in the front row and had attended 25 Elvis concerts between 1972 and 1977.
The memorial is located on the corner intersection of Alabama and Market streets, near the former location of Market Square Arena. The site of Elvis’s final performance was a gravel parking lot from 2001-2018, until a new set of buildings went up. Originally erected and dedicated in 2002, the plaque stood sentry over this gravelly lot.
The plaque was saved by construction workers, and when the project was done in 2018 it was rededicated in a formal ceremony, complete with peanut butter and banana crepes.