What to know
Ray Cash brought his family to Dyess in 1935 after President Franklin Roosevelt's administration carved an agricultural resettlement colony out of snake-infested swampland in Mississippi County. Dyess Colony was an unprecedented government social experiment as part of the New Deal to give nearly 500 down-on-their-luck farmers a chance for a new start in life. With no money down, the Cash family was given 20 acres of fertile bottomland and a five-room house in which to live. Now owned by Arkansas State University, the house has been restored, along with several of the historic federal buildings.
The Dyess Colony Visitors Center, located in the Colony Circle at the former site of the theatre and pop shop, is the first stop. It includes a gift shop, orientation video, and exhibits. The Dyess Colony Administration Building next door houses exhibits related to the establishment of the colony, lifestyles of typical colonists, and the impact that growing up in Dyess had on Johnny Cash and his music. From the Colony Circle, visitors are shuttled to the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home, less than two miles from the Colony Center. It is furnished as it appeared when the Cash family lived there, based on the memories of Johnny's two youngest siblings who assisted in the restoration.
Come visit the childhood home of American music icon Johnny Cash and see the restoration efforts that have preserved the story of the nation's largest farming resettlement community.
The Historic Dyess Colony: Johnny Cash Boyhood Home is a stop along the Sunken Lands Cultural Roadway, as well as an official loop off the 10-state Great River Road National Scenic Byway. A building in the Colony Circle and the gravel road leading to the Cash home were settings for the movie, Walk the Line.