The circa 1950 ranch-style house at 605 Oakhill Drive doesn’t have any visual features that dramatically set it apart from the other homes in the central Killeen neighborhood not far from Conder Park. It’s a one-story, brick home with a rather large mailbox out front.
There is no Texas landmark sign out front. There is no pink Cadillac. There is no visual evidence that “Elvis was here.”
But if these walls could talk, they’d sing.
In 1958, longtime Killeen resident Edith Carlile lived four doors down from the house Pvt. Elvis Presley lived in with his parents. Presley rented the home for seven months from a local lawyer when he was stationed at Fort Hood for Army training.
“The street was extremely crowded with cars going by,” said Carlile, who now lives next door to the house Presley lived in. “People were standing in the yard, wanting to touch him, kiss him.”
Carlile, 89, was a mother of four at the time, and wasn’t really into the rock ’n’ roll music that Presley is famous for.
“I’m not a fan of music of that age,” Carlile said, adding she is more into the tunes of the big band era.
Her children did get autographs from Presley, but Carlile said she threw the signed pieces of paper away years later.
She said the rock ’n’ roll king dated a few of the local girls when he was here, and his presence made a big impact, especially in the Oakhill Drive neighborhood, which in 1958 was home to lawyers, business owners and other upper-middle class families.
Surprise, Elvis was here
More than 54 years later, the house is still standing, and although it’s aged, the outside doesn’t look dramatically different from when Presley lived there.
The couple who currently owns the home did not respond to requests for a full interview, and did not allow permission for their names to be used.
Surprisingly, the owners said they didn’t even know the house had once been lived in by Presley when they bought it more than a year ago.
But they’ve heard the stories now, and even had some visits from die-hard Presley fans.
One of the owners said people regularly pop by the house to take a snapshot or inquire about the former home of the King.
Some drive hundreds of miles to do so. Others want to peep inside or look at the backyard.
Some renovation work is being done at the home. In mid-December, several 2-by-4 wooden boards were seen on the roof, modern windows were in place throughout the house, and a stone-mounted post office box bordered the street, all with the look of recent renovation.
Other renovation has been done on the inside; however, the owner was reluctant to offer details.
In November 2006, the 2,400-square-foot house was placed for purchase on the popular auction website eBay.
The owner at the time, Myka Allen-Johnson, a sales representative for CenTex Homes, said she wanted to sell the home to someone who would understand the historical significance.
“I didn’t buy the house with the intention of selling it on eBay,” Allen-Johnson told the Killeen Daily Herald in 2006. “I just don’t want people to forget that he lived here in Killeen.”
It’s unclear if the home ever did sell on eBay. Calls to Allen-Johnson for this article were not returned.
A place he dwelled
The historical significance of the home — if there is any — may be dwindling.
“It’s just a place he stayed at — like a hotel or something,” Carlile said.
Carlile and others in the neighborhood said the house doesn’t deserve a Texas landmark sign or any other marker indicating it has historical value.
Killen resident Penny Love was 3 or 4 years old and lived around the corner in 1958.
Love said she remembers seeing Presley sneak through her backyard to avoid the crowd that waited out front. She said she would sometimes sit on Presley’s father’s lap on the front porch.
While some locals still talk about the house that Presley lived in, Love, like Carlile, said the house doesn’t need an historical marker out front.
“It wasn’t like he owned the house,” Love said. “All he did was rent it.”
Attempts to officially recognize the house and street as historic never really caught on.
In August 1958, Presley fans petitioned the Killeen City Council to change the name of Oakhill Drive to Presley Drive, bringing nationwide publicity to the area. Today, however, Oakhill is still the name of the street.
And the number of fans who come to look at the home have dwindled over the decades, Carlile said. Some aren’t even quite sure which house it is anymore.
“A lot of people stop and take a picture of my house, and then they’ll ring the door bell and ask, “Is this the house that Elvis used to live in?” Carlile said.
But even that is rare nowadays, Carlile said.
The owner said she allows Presley fans to take a quick picture of the front of the house. But those who try to pry closer are not totally welcome.
The backyard has a steep incline, she said, which can be dangerous, and a German shepherd patrols back there, too.
For a good look at where Elvis Presley lived during his life, fans may just have to be satisfied with Graceland.