On Saturday, Aug. 16, many will see their longtime dream become a reality. People like Mayor Larry Sims of Dyess, Dr. Ruth Hawkins and the staff of ASU’s Arkansas Heritage Sites, and most certainly the family of the legendary Johnny Cash…all of whom spent years of their lives working to make the vision of restoring the Cash family home happen.
Saturday is the grand opening of Historic Dyess Colony: Boyhood Home of Johnny Cash in Dyess. The event begins at 10 a.m. with a dedication at the front entrance of the Dyess Administration Building. Johnny’s daughter, Roseanne, and his siblings, Joanne and Tommy, will make special remarks.
Throughout the day, special tours will be given of the Administration Building as well as the restored Cash home. Limited tickets are still available.
J.R. Cash was three years old when he moved with his family from Kingsland to Dyess. He grew up there. He went to church there. He suffered his first major loss there, when his beloved brother Jack died following a sawmill accident in 1944. He would later say that many of his early songs, like “Five Feet High and Rising,” were inspired by his time in Dyess. He left the community in 1950 to join the Air Force. He would eventually become one of the most influential musicians in the world.
Arkansas State University purchased the home and began work on restoring the house as it would’ve been the day the Cash family first saw it. Inside the house visitors will find treasures of the Cash family, including Johnny’s mother’s piano. The administration building was the centerpiece for one of the nation’s agricultural resettlement colonies under the New Deal and now houses exhibits about the colony and the impact of Dyess on Cash and his music. The project is a joint effort between the City of Dyess and Arkansas State University. Other buildings will be restored or recreated in the future. For more information, contact Arkansas Heritage Sites at 870-972-2803 or log on to http://dyesscash.astate.edu.