Work is underway to restore the east Arkansas home of Johnny Cash. The home is just about an hour away from Memphis near Blytheville. Family and fans came together on Sunday to celebrate what would have been Cash’s 80th birthday.
The ceremony was held at the Dyess Community Center. Just a few miles outside of town, down a short gravel road, the small home that Ray and Carrie Cash moved into in 1935 with their children had been lifted from its foundation so that work to restore it could begin.
“This project has been in the making for several years and I never thought that it would actually come to fruition,” Johnny’s daughter Rosanne Cash said. “And Arkansas State University eventually bought it, which was exciting enough. We never foresaw that it would take on this kind of life.”
The Cash home, which had fallen into disrepair, is being restored as part of ASU’s Arkansas Heritage Sites program.
“To my family it’s an enormous honor and kind of a full circle for my aunt and uncle definitely and (that’s right) we’re thrilled about it. We’re thrilled!” Rosanne Cash said. “I cannot think of a better way to honor my father and his legacy than with this project.”
Johnny Cash’s younger brother was on hand. He and hundreds of people filled the Dyess Community Center to hear songs and stories about Johnny Cash. After the ceremony, fans drove over to see the cash home.
The home has been lifted onto the back of truck and moved to the back of the lot as the soil is being replaced to provide a firmer foundation. Then it will be set back in place. Johnny Cash’s siblings will then help furnish it the way it looked when they were kids.
Cash’s sister, Joanne Cash Yates exclaimed, “It’s very emotional… going back home.”
It’s hoped work can be completed by June of next year. Money for the project was raised during a fundraising concert last August and organizers continue collecting more as part of a larger project to show the history of Dyess, which was created as part of President Roosevelt’s New Deal during the Great Depression.