Indy Star: Elvis Presley Plaque Will Return to MSA site

By David Lindquist | The Indianapolis Star

The Elvis plaque has left the place that used to be the building.

But there’s no reason to be entirely shook up. The commemorative marker is coming back.

Forty years ago today, Elvis Presley performed in concert for the final time. The rock ‘n’ roll icon died Aug. 16, 1977, seven weeks after he headlined Market Square Arena in Downtown Indianapolis.

It was impossible to know the June 26 show, the closing date on a 10-day Midwest tour, would be Presley’s last. His death at age 42, attributed to a heart attack, dominated international news coverage and inspired more than 20,000 mourners to visit Presley’s Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tenn.

Market Square Arena came down in 2001, two years after Bankers Life Fieldhouse became the new home of the Indiana Pacers. Presley fans didn’t forget MSA’s place in Elvis lore.

Carmel resident Kay Lipps and her late husband, Paul, led the Taking Care of Presley Memorial Benefit Committee, which raised funds for a $10,000 plaque and base (including a time capsule) to commemorate Presley’s final concert.

City leaders dedicated the plaque, featuring a Paul Lipps photo of Presley wearing his “Aztec sundial” jumpsuit at Market Square Arena, on June 26, 2002 — the concert’s 25th anniversary.

The plaque later made a short trip from a parking lot on the former MSA site, 300 E. Market St., to a spot along the Indianapolis Cultural Trail at the southeast corner of the intersection of Alabama and Market streets.

 Construction north and south of Market Street meant the plaque has been absent in recent years. And it’s absent today on the concert’s 40th anniversary.

“(City officials) contacted us when they kind of took it apart and moved it for safekeeping,” Lipps said.

The project south of Market Street, distribution headquarters for Fortune 500 engine maker Cummins, opened in January.

The project north of Market Street, a 28-story luxury apartment tower known as 360 Market Square, is expected to open before 2018 arrives.

360 Market Square developer Flaherty & Collins Properties is in possession of the Presley marker.

Flaherty & Collins Properties spokesman Brian Moore said the plaque will be installed along the Indianapolis Cultural Trail at the northeast corner of the intersection of Alabama and Market streets this fall.