The Jerry Lee Lewis Ranch

10 Mar

The Lewis Ranch | 1595 Malone Rd |Nesbit, MS | (About 30 minutes south of Memphis)

Mind the sign. There are rules at The Killer's house.

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.

A rancher is good enough for Lewis.

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 ebony and ivory gates of the Ranch

The grounds also house the famed piano-shaped swimming pool and an attraction once billed as “The Killer Kar Museum.”

If you try to be social, you're responsible.

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.

Elise Lauterbach

7 Responses to “The Jerry Lee Lewis Ranch”

  1. Geschenkideen November 16, 2011 at 4:04 pm #

    Tremendous article!

  2. Willie Small March 4, 2014 at 11:51 pm #

    hello Mr Lewis I am a big fan of you like the world is back in the 70’s we were neighbors you might remember our familyI was listening Jimmy Swaggart today he was praying for you that you were ill I prayed with him I.if it would be any comfort to you look on youtube under willie small 123 I sing gospel music I pray it will minister to you god blessWillie small

  3. Willie Small March 4, 2014 at 11:55 pm #

    Mr Lewis it is an honor to be able to write a post to you in the 70s we were neighbors in Memphis I was watching Jimmy Swaggart today he mentioned you weren’t feeling well and he prayed for you and I did too I sing gospel if it would give you comfort look me up on YouTube under willie small 123 I pray one of the songs will bless youI play guitar willie

  4. jeremy whiting June 2, 2014 at 2:49 am #

    I actually visited jerry lee lewis ranch today from the outside of course didnt see him until my uncle said aye if u wanna go back u can get better pictures of his house so I did when I pulled over got out took the pictures then all of a sudden he came out the front door to get sumthing off his porch with camera in hand got a rare picture of him and even had to take a brick from the first gate jus to have a piece of history awsum

  5. Andre July 11, 2014 at 11:39 pm #

    I visited the Ranch in 2000 and i’ve been inside the house. What an amazing experience, I never forget that.

  6. Maurice R. Walker December 28, 2015 at 3:41 am #

    I will be 69 on 1-13-16. My father was a Methodist Minister and we moved to Magee, MS in February, 1959. All of his family, as well as my mothers, lived in Kentucky all their life. We never had a piano in our house but when I first heard Jerry Lee’s music on the radio, I knew I wanted to learn some chords and play some music like him, which is impossible. Every church my dad pastored had a piano, and little by little I sneaked into the various churches and taught myself some chords, C, A-minor, F and G. I was astonished to learn
    that most doo-wop songs could be played with those 4 chords. From Magee , we moved
    to Richton, Ms, for my 9th grade year, then to Pascagoula, Ms. for my soph, and Junior Yrs. then to Meridian, Ms for my Senior yr. While at Meridian, Jerry Lee came to Meridian in late 1964 or early 1965 and put on a show at a small venue called The Boom, Boom Room, which I attended. I was hooked before but double hooked after that. One of my last bucket list things to do is go to his house or wherever and talk to him for 15 or 20 minutes and thank him for being such an inspiration to me. I never took piano lessons, but my father passed away in 1995 knowing without Jerry Lee, I wouldn’t have attempted to play any instrument.

  7. David March 31, 2016 at 11:57 am #

    I love you Jerry. Growing up in Jackson, MS and having a grandfather who was a business associate of one of your myriad older cousins, oh Pap remembered you. You were wild and crazy (some people thought you were slightly retarded… But a whiz on the piano. Kind of a Sling Blade kinda thing).
    Now, I’m not even going to go off on being the second brightest kid at school. I always considered myself as you. You were the true rebel in this thing called rock n roll. The man on the throne was me! He was a twin. He had blonde hair and blue eyes. He was from Tupelo! Look at the state of that little city vs. your “childhood home” in that municipal ghetto down in Ferriday. The place where yet another of your “cousins” might or might not answer the door depending on how many Budweisers he’s had. Oh and if he doesn’t let you in, the crackheads will converge. Then there’s the drive thru beer bar in the yard. I guess it’s shuttered now, like everything else in Ferriday.
    If I sound bitter, it’s because I’ve probably paid $500 chasing you across the South. Just to see you before you ya know,die? Every damn show I went to, the openers would have to huddle and figure out how long they need to stretch their set before the MC comes out and announces the Killer doesn’t feel like playing tonight. In Memphis. 15 minutes north of your compound.
    Three weeks later, I read you’re playing shows in Munich and Amsterdam.
    And you couldn’t drag your ass up to the bench for the people (and all their progeny) who put you on your precious little perch in the first place? It wasn’t Steve Allen that paved your road with gold, it was some weird looking fella by the name of Sam Phillips. Born in Florence, AL. Btw, my first boss was from that town. He gave me so many chances.
    Well, long story short, you owe me you old bastard. You flaked out on every show in Dixie that I ever bought a ticket and took valuable time off work for.
    Do I need to come up to Nesbit? Do I need to continue spinning yarns about you and Pap hustling Singer sewing machines (pun intended)?
    How am I going to finally say I saw the Killer live before he died? The disrespect you have shown to your very first audience is unforgivable.

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