The Lewis Ranch | 1595 Malone Rd |Nesbit, MS | (About 30 minutes south of Memphis)
When I pilgrimate to Jerry Lee Lewis’s home in Nesbit, Mississippi, I’m never sure whether I want The Killer to be home or not. On one hand, it would be nice to know that I’m standing only a dozen yards from a rock icon. On the other, if he’s not home, I’m more likely to leave alive.
The Killer lives in an unremarkable red brick ranch house on a hilly, semi-rural road. This architectural feature seems to be the reason Lewis refers to his estate as “The Lewis Ranch.” (There are no branded cattle in sight.) It’s a house identical to the childhood home of most upwardly mobile middle-class Boomers. The choice mirrors Elvis’s satisfaction with Graceland: When you’re born in a shack, a medium-sized home feels like a palace. If more of us could achieve that same level of satisfaction with 2500 square feet, we would have avoided the current mortgage crisis.
The unusual feature of the home is the large brick and board wall surrounding the property. In former days this fence was covered with graffiti from adoring fans, much of it in German. It’s now whitewashed. Three double gates adorned with wood panels, bearing the faintest resemblance to pianos, emphasize the estate’s exclusivity. Happily, the fencing does not bar the view of Lewis’s automobiles. Last visit recorded two unidentifiable cars under covers, and mid-1970s van favored by day laborers, and a beat-up maroon station wagon.
The grounds also house the famed piano-shaped swimming pool and an attraction once billed as “The Killer Kar Museum.”
In 1994 Lewis opened his home to visitors (for $15, to help pay 4 million, later reduced to half-a-million in back taxes to the IRS) if you called ahead. After he divorced his sixth wife, Kerrie McCarver, in 2005, Lewis got the keep the house, but quit hosting fans. Now, a makeshift sign implores you accord The Killer his privacy. Another, more menacing sign, half-obscured by a weeping branch, informs you that the Lewis estate is not responsible for injury.