24 Hour Church of Elvis

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408 NW Couch Street, Portland

The 24 Hour Church of Elvis was an exhibit at a museum and gallery called "Where's The Art?" in Portland, Oregon, USA, run by artist Stephanie "Stevie" G. Pierce.

The original location (1109 SW Washington, 45°31′18″N 122°40′58″W / 45.521752°N 122.682825°W / 45.521752; -122.682825 (1109 Washington, 1985-1986)), which operated from 1985–1986, had a single coin-operated fortune-telling machine accessible from the street, elaborate window displays, and art available for purchase inside.

At the second location (219 SW Ankeny, 1987–1994, 45°31′21″N 122°40′21″W / 45.522548°N 122.672416°W / 45.522548; -122.672416 (219 SW Ankeny, 1987-1994)), the entire store front was itself a work of art, and included several custom-built coin-operated automated art exhibits that moved and made sounds in response to pressing buttons, and would dispense (or not) various trinkets, pamphlets, fortunes, etc. for prices ranging from 25 cents to a dollar. Every prize was accompanied by a one-inch "original work of art" by Ms. Pierce. Some machines were run by Commodore 64 computers, and included crude graphics and speech synthesis. These machines were always accessible, hence the first part of the name. Other items by the artist were available inside the store when it was open. Also inside, one would often find the street performer called "Elvis" who would play a few songs on a cardboard guitar, in his sequined jumpsuit and thick, dark-rimmed glasses. This performer is still a regular fixture at Portland Saturday Market.

The third location (720 SW Ankeny, 1994–2002, 45°31′21″N 122°40′41″W / 45.522593°N 122.678061°W / 45.522593; -122.678061 (720 SW Ankeny, 1994-2002)) was devoted primarily towards 1970s popular culture memorabilia. It was on the second floor and lacked any of the coin-operated machines of the older locations, although several cut-out holes in the first floor of the building hinted that they were intended to be installed at this location, but never were. The museum offered legal weddings for $25 and "cheap, not legal" weddings for $5. The fake weddings could be same sex. Despite the name, the third incarnation of the 24 Hour Church was not open 24 hours, as indicated by a sign on the door which read "24 Hour Church of Elvis: Usually open Noon to 5, 8 - 11 a lot. Call (503) 226-3671 for reassurance". Although this location is now occupied by an architecture firm, the last remnant of the 24 Hour Church of Elvis is still visible in their entrance.

The fourth location (2008-2013 408 N.W. Couch St. 45°31′26″N 122°40′29″W / 45.52384°N 122.674769°W / 45.52384; -122.674769 (408 NW Couch St.)Coordinates: 45°31′26″N 122°40′29″W / 45.52384°N 122.674769°W / 45.52384; -122.674769 (408 NW Couch St.)[1]) closed in March 2013 due to lack of funds for rent.[2]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ "24 Hour Church of Elvis website". Archived from the original on 17 June 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-30. 
  2. ^ Shannon Cheesman. "24 Hour Church of Elvis disappears again - is it gone for good?". KATU. Retrieved 7 June 2013. 

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