Johnny Cash childhood home open to public

By Waleed Khalidi ,

The childhood home of legend Johnny Cash is now open to the public in the disintegrating town of Dyess, Ark. The move is an attempt to bring in attraction and income to the dying small town, located 50 miles north of Memphis.

The Cash family moved to the home in Dyess in 1935 as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal to help families during the Great Depression, according to BBC News. Johnny was three years old at the time.

The house has five rooms and still contains the family's piano, along with other items from the period. The refurbishment was overseen by Johnny's siblings, Tommy and Joanne. "We've got everything just as it was," Joanne Cash, 76, told NY Times. "It took a lot of hard work. It's been very emotional for me."

Joanne explained the history and significance of the family piano. "We used to gather around that piano at night and sing gospel for an hour. That was our entertainment."

The Cash clan were among 500 other families who were relocated to the settlement under Roosevelt's initiative. Every family was granted a house, a barn and a mule. The Cash's grew cotton, among other crops. By the age of ten, Johnny was working full time in the fields.

Johnny lived in Dyess until he enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1950. Five years later, he kicked off his music career and went on to become an American icon, before passing away in 2003.

The struggling town of Dyess, Ark. hopes the opening of the home to the public will help bring in an efficient income, before the town goes under. Mayor Larry Sims hopes for it to bring in 20,000 visitors a year.



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