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Road Trip To Texas 2017 by Francesc Lopez






In July 2011, my wife and I decided to take a road trip from California, where we live, to Texas. On our last Texas trip, the focus was the little towns where Elvis played in Northwestern and Central Texas, but also some other points of interest not related to Elvis.

Now in 2017, we decided to fly to Dallas and start our road trip from there, travelling around Northeastern Texas and beyond.

As soon as the airplane landed and we got our rental car, we headed to Greenville, Texas, where Elvis played on October 5, 1955. We got to our hotel around 9 PM after eating BBQ ribs for dinner.

Greenville, TX.

Greenville is the county seat of Hunt County with a population of more than 25,000. The city looked a bit busier, possibly because of the 4th of July parade the next day. We decided to check at the Public Library to see if there was information about the Elvis' concert. The Greenville Morning Herald advertised the Elvis concert performed on October 5, 1955 at the City Auditorium. Unfortunately, the microfilm machine was not printing, so we had to take a picture of the newspaper ad.

The Greenville Municipal Building is located at 2821 Washington Street, in downtown Greenville. The Municipal Building was built in 1939 as a public works project of the Roosevelt administration. The Auditorium has 1,734 theatre-style seats and has hosted a wide variety of artists over the years from Elvis Presley to Duke Ellington1. The building has gone through a massive restoration recently

The Municipal Building was opened because the city uses it for their city activities. We asked if we could visit the Auditorium, but it was not open to the public at that time. As we turn to leave, the gentleman said: "Wait! You all have come all the way from California to see this, come with me!" We sure did. He was very accommodating, turning on the lights so we can take some photos. The restoration was beautifully done.

In the lobby, we saw a collage of artists that performed at the Auditorium, and a mock-up of the Elvis concert poster.

Paris, TX.

Paris was not in our schedule, but since we finished Greenville early, we decided to drive to Paris and see if we could find the Boys Club Gymnasium.

Paris has some similarities with Greenville. The population is similar and it is also a county seat in this case for Lamar County. Elvis played at the Boys Club Gymnasium on October 4, 1955, at an event sponsored by the Optimist Club. The show was a sell-out according to the Paris News article.

The Boys Club Gymnasium is now called Boys and Girls Clubs of The Red River Valley and is located at 1530 1st St NE. The Gymnasium is still being used, but the stage has been separated by a wall. The backstage is still accessible and has not changed much.

Da'on, the Assist. Executive Director of this institution graciously showed us the backstage, dressing rooms and gave us some tidbits about the concert. We were impressed by his hospitality.

He even told us about Paris' current favorite attraction, their own version of the Eiffel Tower. It is situated next to the beautiful Red River Valley Veterans Memorial. We also visited a memorial for the Paris fires of 1916 that almost destroyed half of the town.


    





1 According to Greenville Municipal Auditorium website