Johnny Cash‘s childhood home in rural Arkansas, where the Man of Black lived from boyhood to high school, was added to the National Register of Historic Places Friday. The residence will now bear the designation of “Farm No. 266, Johnny Cash Boyhood Home.”
Arkansas State University – which paid $575,000 to purchase and restored the five-bedroom house in Dyess, Arkansas – initially submitted its application for the honor in December, but the National Register requested that the nomination focus more on the home’s significance in relation to Cash.
“The original nomination form presented a wealth of information about Cash and his family, and simply needed to be tweaked to justify listing it for that significance,” National Register historian James Gabbert told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (via Associated Press).
“The property has two separate but related and intertwined areas of significance – the association with the [Federal Emergency Relief Administration] and the Dyess colony, and the effect that being a part of that colony had on Johnny Cash’s development as an artist.”
At least two of Cash’s songs, “Five Feet High and Rising,” about a flood that struck the area in 1937, and “Pickin’ Time,” were based on Cash’s experience in Dyess. Cash’s daughter Rosanne Cash recently visited the area for her “The Walking Wounded” video.
Gabbert added, “Currently, there are no properties associated with Cash himself listed in the National Register, although Sun Recording Studio in Memphis is listed (Cash recorded there in his early days). While the National Register generally lists properties under B for their association with the productive period of a person’s life, an exception can be made if there are either no extant places left to associate with the person, or if you can demonstrate that the place has had a profound impact on the person’s formative years.”
Arkansas Historic Preservation Program’s Mark Christ said, “It’s great that the childhood home of one of America’s greatest songwriters and entertainers has achieved national recognition and even better that it has been restored so that people can visit it and walk in the footsteps of Johnny Cash.”