clock menu more-arrow no yes

10 Shrines to the Childhoods of Famous Americans, Mapped!

View as Map

America's obsession with celebrity oozes from our collective identity in multitudinous ways, including the merely disturbing (the activities of gravers on the hunt for the final resting places of the stars) and the alarming and illegal (the behavior of stalkers and iPhone hackers), but the desire to make a physical connection with the demigods who cavort across our stages, laptop screens, and required reading lists also finds expression in one of the most peaceful, pervasive monuments to celebrity culture: the childhood/birthplace museum.

These shrines to the homes (typically, but not always, a modest, semi-rural abode) where a star spent his or her formative years are places where a visitor can stand on the same porch Elvis once played, stare through the same window from which a tiny Nina Simone once looked out on the North Carolina countryside, or run their fingers over the crayoned graffiti in teenaged Kurt Cobain's bedroom. Normal people can't grasp what the white-hot glare of fame feels like, but we were all children once; these shrines put us in touch with celebrity at the last point we have a universal experience in common: growing up.

But enough talk, here's the map:


· All Curbed Maps [Curbed National]

Read More

1. Elvis Presley's Birth Place and Museum

Copy Link
306 Elvis Presley Dr
Tupelo, MS 38804
(662) 841-1245
Visit Website

While the home in which Elvis Presley took his first breath doesn't come close to the majestic gaudiness of the home in which he took his last, it's still a draw to Elvis worshipers everywhere. Photo via CMT

2. Judy Garland's Birthplace & Home

Copy Link
2727 U.S. 169
Grand Rapids, MN 55744
(218) 327-9276
Visit Website

Q: Where could you have beheld the spectacle of "1,093 Costumed Wizard of Oz Characters in One Place"? A: The Judy Garland Birthplace, which is a popular gathering place for fans of all stripes. Photo via TripAdvisor

3. Amelia Earhart Birthplace

Copy Link
223 Santa Fe
Atchison, KS 66002

The heroic, barrier-smashing aviator whose mysterious disappearance still fascinates was born in this kind of spooky Gothic Revival home on the banks of the Missouri River.

4. Richard Nixon Birthplace

Copy Link
18001 Yorba Linda Boulevard
Yorba Linda, CA 92886

Not only beloved cultural figures get the birthplace shrine treatment, as the existence of the Richard Nixon museum proves. Still, even Tricky Dick must draw a coterie of pilgrims.

5. Mark Twain Home & Museum

Copy Link
120 North Main Street
Hannibal, MO 63401
(573) 221-9010
Visit Website

It doesn't get any more all-American than the Samuel Langhorne Clemens a.k.a. Mark Twain Home and Museum, which lays it on appropriately thick with attractions like "Tom Sawyer's Fence" and the "Huck Finn Home."

6. Flannery O'Connor Childhood Home

Copy Link
207 East Charlton Street
Savannah, GA 31401

The childhood home of Southern Gothic author and all-round tragic figure Flannery O'Connnor is kinda grim (it's the grey town home at left in this photo by Marissa Hermanson).

7. Nina Simone Childhood Home

Copy Link
30 Livingston Street
Tryon, NC 28782

Sadly, some childhood homes languish in a perpetual state of decay while preservationists scramble to scrape together the funds to save them from the bulldozer. Jazz great Nina Simone's home is among them.

8. Martin Luther King Jr. Birth Home

Copy Link
501 Auburn Avenue Northeast
Atlanta, GA 30312

While some birthplace museums are borderline tacky roadside attractions, Martin Luther King Jr.'s family home in Atlanta's Sweet Auburn district retains it's homey charm.

9. Sequoyah Birthplace Museum

Copy Link
Sequoyah Birthplace Memorial
Vonore, TN 37885

Not all birthplace museums contain actual houses. The Sequoyah Birthplace Museum marks the location of the birth of the man who invented the written language of the Cherokee people. The abode he was born in is long gone.

10. Kurt Cobain's Childhood Home

Copy Link
1210 East 1st Street
Aberdeen, WA 98520

Kurt Cobain's modest childhood home has the distinction of being listed by L.A. uber-brokerage The Agency, proving that celebrity sells, even in Aberdeen, Wash.

1. Elvis Presley's Birth Place and Museum

306 Elvis Presley Dr, Tupelo, MS 38804

While the home in which Elvis Presley took his first breath doesn't come close to the majestic gaudiness of the home in which he took his last, it's still a draw to Elvis worshipers everywhere. Photo via CMT

306 Elvis Presley Dr
Tupelo, MS 38804

2. Judy Garland's Birthplace & Home

2727 U.S. 169, Grand Rapids, MN 55744

Q: Where could you have beheld the spectacle of "1,093 Costumed Wizard of Oz Characters in One Place"? A: The Judy Garland Birthplace, which is a popular gathering place for fans of all stripes. Photo via TripAdvisor

2727 U.S. 169
Grand Rapids, MN 55744

3. Amelia Earhart Birthplace

223 Santa Fe, Atchison, KS 66002

The heroic, barrier-smashing aviator whose mysterious disappearance still fascinates was born in this kind of spooky Gothic Revival home on the banks of the Missouri River.

223 Santa Fe
Atchison, KS 66002

4. Richard Nixon Birthplace

18001 Yorba Linda Boulevard, Yorba Linda, CA 92886

Not only beloved cultural figures get the birthplace shrine treatment, as the existence of the Richard Nixon museum proves. Still, even Tricky Dick must draw a coterie of pilgrims.

18001 Yorba Linda Boulevard
Yorba Linda, CA 92886

5. Mark Twain Home & Museum

120 North Main Street, Hannibal, MO 63401

It doesn't get any more all-American than the Samuel Langhorne Clemens a.k.a. Mark Twain Home and Museum, which lays it on appropriately thick with attractions like "Tom Sawyer's Fence" and the "Huck Finn Home."

120 North Main Street
Hannibal, MO 63401

6. Flannery O'Connor Childhood Home

207 East Charlton Street, Savannah, GA 31401

The childhood home of Southern Gothic author and all-round tragic figure Flannery O'Connnor is kinda grim (it's the grey town home at left in this photo by Marissa Hermanson).

207 East Charlton Street
Savannah, GA 31401

7. Nina Simone Childhood Home

30 Livingston Street, Tryon, NC 28782

Sadly, some childhood homes languish in a perpetual state of decay while preservationists scramble to scrape together the funds to save them from the bulldozer. Jazz great Nina Simone's home is among them.

30 Livingston Street
Tryon, NC 28782

8. Martin Luther King Jr. Birth Home

501 Auburn Avenue Northeast, Atlanta, GA 30312

While some birthplace museums are borderline tacky roadside attractions, Martin Luther King Jr.'s family home in Atlanta's Sweet Auburn district retains it's homey charm.

501 Auburn Avenue Northeast
Atlanta, GA 30312

9. Sequoyah Birthplace Museum

Sequoyah Birthplace Memorial, Vonore, TN 37885

Not all birthplace museums contain actual houses. The Sequoyah Birthplace Museum marks the location of the birth of the man who invented the written language of the Cherokee people. The abode he was born in is long gone.

Sequoyah Birthplace Memorial
Vonore, TN 37885

10. Kurt Cobain's Childhood Home

1210 East 1st Street, Aberdeen, WA 98520

Kurt Cobain's modest childhood home has the distinction of being listed by L.A. uber-brokerage The Agency, proving that celebrity sells, even in Aberdeen, Wash.

1210 East 1st Street
Aberdeen, WA 98520