Category: News


Joanne Cash Yates (left) and Tommy Cash, sister and brother of music legend Johnny Cash, share a quiet moment while touring the restored Johnny Cash Boyhood Home during dedication ceremonies Saturday.

Joanne Cash Yates (left) and Tommy Cash, sister and brother of music legend Johnny Cash, share a quiet moment while touring the restored Johnny Cash Boyhood Home during dedication ceremonies Saturday.

DYESS, Ark. — Hundreds of fans and friends joined the Johnny Cash family for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and celebration at the grand opening of the Cash boyhood home here Saturday. The ceremony crowned the restoration of the structure that was home to the Cash family from 1935 until 1953.

“If Dad walked into the house today, he would have been overcome,” said Rosanne Cash, one of Johnny’s four daughters, at the dedication ceremony.

The dedication came on the heels of the fourth annual Johnny Cash Music Festival at Arkansas State University’s Convocation Center Friday evening. The sold-out concert featured Country Music Hall of Fame members Loretta Lynn, Reba McEntire and Bobby Bare. Singer and comedian Mark Lowry served as the event emcee.

People lined up early Saturday morning at the Dyess Administration Building to board the shuttles for the short two-and-a-half mile drive to the home. A private viewing for the Cash family was first on the agenda, as members toured the five-room home newly furnished with retrieved family items and donations.

“When many people approach me about starting Johnny Cash projects, I usually say ‘no, Rosanne Cash explained. “But, in talking to Dr. Ruth Hawkins and Arkansas State University, I realized several things and one is that my children need to know their family legacy. It’s so beautiful.”

“From when I saw the house in 2011 and to see the progress today is overwhelming,” continued Rosanne. “Ruth and the family aimed for authenticity when it came to furnishings. When you add the pieces in the house, it gives it resonance. The whole project caused a real shift in my life.”

Following additional remarks by Dyess Mayor Larry Sims, President of the Arkansas State System Dr. Chuck Welch, a letter from Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe, Johnny Cash’s sister Joanne Cash Yates, brother Tommy Cash and others, Cash family members surrounded Joanne as she clipped the leaf garland ribbon to declare the home as officially opened. Family members then delighted the crowd by singing “Will The Circle Be Unbroken,” inviting them to join in.

Following the festivities, buses were loaded with fans to take the hourly tours of the home until late afternoon.

Hawkins, the executive director of Arkansas State’s Heritage Sites program, began work on the boyhood home project in 2009 and visualized turning the land with a dilapidated, run-down structure back into to the simple glory that was the home where one of the most talented and celebrated superstars spent his childhood and teen years. She spearheaded the development from the beginning, including the purchase of the home by Arkansas State to the final furnishing.

The Dyess Colony was created in 1934 as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal to aid in the nation’s economic recovery from the Great Depression. As a federal agricultural resettlement community, it provided a fresh start for nearly 500 impoverished Arkansas farm families, including the family of Johnny Cash.

After Rosanne expressed the family’s “tremendous gratitude,” Joanne added, “Thank you for being a part of our family—all of you.”

Tommy closed by saying, “Thank you. This is one of the greatest projects I’ve ever worked on. Growing up here, I was a happy child.”

The Historic Dyess Colony: Boyhood Home of Johnny Cash is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. It is closed Sundays, Mondays and major holidays. Admission is $10 and includes the Dyess Colony Museum and the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home.

For the original A-State News Article, click here.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJONESBORO – On the eve of the grand opening of her father’s boyhood home, Tara Cash Schwoebel, the youngest daughter of Johnny Cash, announced the publication of “Recollections by J.R. Cash: Childhood Memories of Johnny Cash.” Recollections group The announcement was made Thursday afternoon in Cooper Alumni Center on the Arkansas State University campus. Schwoebel, the youngest of Cash’s four daughters, was on hand to discuss the book written in her father’s own handwriting about growing up in Dyess.

“I found a book in 1995 called ‘Dad, Share Your Life with Me,’” said Schwoebel. “I gave him a copy which included questions about his childhood, his love of music and life in Dyess. The following year, he returned it to me on my birthday with all of the question cards filled out with his answers.

“I had the good fortune to meet Dr. Ruth Hawkins and I called her and told her about having this diary of memories from my dad about growing up in Arkansas and asked her if she knew of a publisher who might be interested. She told me she wanted Arkansas State University to publish it.”

Hawkins, executive director of Arkansas Heritage Sites at Arkansas State, is the force behind the restoration endeavor for the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home and the Historic Dyess Colony Project.

Copies of the book will be for sale on the Second Floor of the Dyess Administration Building during the grand opening of the project on Saturday. Books can be purchased between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., and Schwoebel will be signing books from 12:30 to 2 p.m. “Recollections by J.R. Cash: Childhood Memories of Johnny Cash,” sells for $19.95.

“The home he grew up in meant so much to my dad,” continued Schwoebel. “His memories and recall were incredible.”

She noted, “He has so many fishing stories and many others. The memories paint pictures of daily life in Dyess, and when you are in the house, you feel it.This book is rich with stories and fun things,” concluded Schwoebel.”I think everyone will enjoy it.”

In the book’s introduction, Schwoebel says, “Having seen the now-restored home where he grew up in Dyess and knowing the breadth of the hard work, the tragedies endured, the depth of instinct for survival, and the love his family shared, I feel it is time to share this priceless journal.”

“It’s a fabulous book,” said Hawkins. “No one could do this kind of book except his daughter because his answers are meant for her.”

After the grand opening on Saturday, the book will be available at the Historic Dyess Colony Museum during regular operating hours, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Additionally, it will be sold at other Arkansas State University heritage sites. the Johnny Cash Museum in Nashville, and online at

The original A-State News Article can be found here.

Two Positions Open for Dyess-Cash Project

Arkansas State University is seeking two positions for the Historic Dyess Colony: Boyhood Home of Johnny Cash. Positions are available immediately, and successful applicants will be expected to reside in the Dyess area. Normal hours will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, with occasional evening and other weekend hours for special events and activities. Applications must be submitted online at Deadline is July 21, 2014.

Assistant Director (Non-Classified Position)

This position reports to the Director of Arkansas Heritage Sites at Arkansas State University. The Assistant Director is responsible for the daily operations of the site; coordinating the work of museum staff, students and volunteers; developing and maintaining records; managing the physical facilities; conducting research; developing educational programming; and assisting in developing and implementing policies and procedures. Minimum requirements include a master’s degree in public administration, museum studies, heritage studies, history, management, or a related field, plus related experience in a supervisory or leadership capacity.

Facilities Manager (Classified Position)

This position reports to the Assistant Director and is responsible for facilities-related activities, including tours through buildings, safety and security, maintenance and custodial oversight, set-up for special programs and activities, preparing special reports, and developing and recommending policies and procedures as directed by supervisor. Minimum requirements include a high school diploma; plus experience in a related field.

A-State, a federal contractor, is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or protected Veteran status.

A-State has a strong institutional commitment to the achievement of excellence and diversity among its faculty, staff, and students. A-State also is committed to creating a productive workplace in which both persons and property are secure. To achieve that goal, background investigations are conducted on all final applicants recommended for employment.


V.C. Kays House, Arkansas State University

V.C. Kays House, Arkansas State University

Arkansas State University has received two grants totaling nearly a million dollars from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council (ANCRC) to be used for theatre reconstruction in Dyess, Ark., as part of the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home project and renovation of the historic V.C. Kays house on the A-State campus.

“Preserving our heritage is part of Arkansas State’s role for our region. These grants allow us to further our mission of enhancing our communities,” Chancellor Tim Hudson said. “On our campus, salvaging the Kays House was a project I became involved in when I arrived at A-State. Along with our system president, Dr. Chuck Welch, and listening to faculty leaders, we worked together to turn the planned demolition of the home into a lasting part of our legacy. In Dyess, Ark., the grant not only restores an important historic building, but it also economic impact through the future tourism associated with the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home site.”

Dyess Theatre

Dyess Theatre

The council awarded a grant of $200,000 for work on the Kays House and a separate grant of $750,000 to rebuild the notable Dyess Theatre for use as a visitor orientation/welcome center. These are competitive grants that are awarded annually to state agencies for the preservation and conservation of state-owned cultural and natural resources. The grants are made possible through proceeds from the Arkansas real estate transfer tax. For the complete article, click here.

Dyess Colony opened for VIP Inspection Tour event


The VIP Inspection Tour event held April 25, to celebrate the completed restoration of portions of the Historic Dyess Colony, is discussed in the Northeast Arkansas Town Crier article, “Dyess Colony Opened for VIP Inspection Tour Event.” The event provided an opportunity for the Cash family to view the completed restoration of the boyhood home of Johnny Cash. Sponsors and Donors who supported the project, and media, were also invited to attend. To learn more, please view the article here.

Cash family, select audience views major Historic Dyess Colony renovation

25346227_BG1 People from Region 8 and beyond welcomed home the Cash family Friday. The Johnny Cash Boyhood Home and Administration Building in Dyess were open for the first time to a select audience.
Johnny’s siblings, Joanne and Tommy Cash, said they could not be more honored that so many people worked hours, weeks and months to bring their home back to life. “I’m speechless,” Joanne Cash said. “There’s no words to put together to express how we feel. It’s like going back in time. They say you can’t go back, but Tommy and I have been able to go back today.”
Tommy and Joanne are not the only ones who can take a trip down memory lane. People from around the world will be able to read, listen and look at this Dyess history when the buildings open to the public Aug. 16. For the complete KAIT8 article, click here.

Dyess Prepares For Growth By Embracing Past

StoryThe Mid-South is a place loaded with history. We could go on and on about Memphis and it’s influence on music and culture but this time we’re going west of the Mississippi River. Dyess, Arkansas has a connection to the Great Depression and music. Friday afternoon Local 24 got a special look at the restoration of a town that is expected to draw thousands of people and generate millions of dollars. In the 1930s America was in a tough spot. Many were recovering from the Great Depression and looking for work. The government gave parcels of land in Dyess, Arkansas to farmers for that second chance. If they succeeded they’d have to pay the government back. Long after everyone recovered and the town went quiet minds met in 2009 to start a restoration project. According to the 2012 census, 402 people lived in Dyess. Friday afternoon it seemed like most of them were in the town square under the sunshine remembering good times. For the rest of the Local article, click here.


The Dyess VIP Inspection Tour took place on April 25, 2014. The event was held at the newly restored Dyess Administration Building filled with exhibits about the Dyess Colony and a press conference with Johnny’s brother Tommy Cash, sister Joanne Cash Yates, and his daughter Tara Cash Schwoebel. The Dyess project will have its official grand opening August 16, 2014, the day following the music festival. For the complete Arkansas State University news release, which includes comments from Joanne Cash Yates, Tommy Cash, and Tara Cash Schwoebel, click here.

Fourth Annual Johnny Cash Music Festival Date and Lineup Announced

Reba McEntire, Loretta Lynn, and Bobby Bare will perform at this year’s Johnny Cash Music Festival, according to concert producer and festival founder Bill Carter. Legendary singer and comedian Mark Lowry will host the fourth annual event. The concert is set for August 15 at Arkansas State University’s Convocation Center in Jonesboro. Tickets are available at A-State’s Central Box Office and online at Tickets also can be purchased by logging on to the official website of the Johnny Cash Music Festival, Call to purchase tickets toll-free at 1-888-278-3267. For the complete article about the upcoming festival, click here.

THV11 Extra Provides an ‘In-Depth Look at Johnny Cash Boyhood Home’

z1News reporter Dustin Wilson and photojournalist John Young of THV11 in Little Rock tour the progress on the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home, including an interview with A. J. Henson, a childhood friend of Johnny “J. R.” Cash. Henson tells stories of  J. R. as a boy. Along with being able to view the original broadcast and a transcript, this link also takes you to a series of still photos taken by Young in Dyess and a bonus interview conducted by Wilson with Dyess Mayor Larry Sims.