National News

Even 40 Years After His Death, Elvis Still Makes An Impact In Arkansas

Posted August 17

— Wednesday (Aug. 6) marks 40 years since Elvis Presley's death, but because of a quick visit to Fort Smith, he's left a lasting impact on our area.

"Elvis was not your typical singer back then," Ivy Owen, Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority executive director said. "It was back when country was transforming into rock and he was one of the transformers."

When reporting for military duty in 1958, Elvis arrived at Fort Chaffee to get his famous Army buzz haircut.

"He came in one day and three days later, he was gone," Owen said. "But, he made such an impact on the local people that it's still impacting them."

It has been nearly 60 years since Elvis got his haircut in what is now the Chaffee Barbershop Museum, but his presence in Fort Smith still lives on today.

"When I come in and look to the left and see [the museum], I'm like, 'I'm here,' Owen said. "I'm here where Elvis actually walked in and sat in this chair."

People from 15 different countries and 40 states have visited the barbershop museum, just for a chance to stand in the same room The King once visited.

"What we're trying to do is keep that idea alive and make sure that the beginning of his military career that began here is memorialized," Owen said. "No matter what happens to us, this will always be here."

The barbershop museum is open to the public for free and features dozens of pictures from the day of "the haircut heard around the world." The shop is also on the National Register of Historic Places.

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