Johnny Cash boyhood home considered for historic nomination

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The boyhood home of country music icon Johnny Cash is being considered as a nominee for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program's review board is to meet Wednesday to consider 14 state properties for nomination to the list of the nation's historic places, including the Cash home that was built in 1934 in Dyess in northeastern Arkansas, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northwest of Memphis, Tennessee.

The house and 40 acres (16 hectares) were provided to the Cash family as part of a federal government economic recovery program during the Great Depression.

Preservation Program spokesman Mark Christ told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that a final decision on whether the property is included on the list will be made by the National Park Service.

"They go through a rigorous internal determination of eligibility before going to the (Arkansas) board, so if a nomination makes it through both of those processes, it's definitely a property that should be listed," he said in an email to the newspaper.

The home, which is under the control of Arkansas State University, would not have qualified for nomination without the completion in 2014 of a restoration project that brought it back to its 1934 appearance, said Ruth Hawkins, director of ASU's Heritage Sites.

The home was sold by the Cash family in 1954, and subsequent owners installed paneling, wallpaper and modern tile flooring, which had to be torn out, Hawkins said. She added that most of the original material was still there.

"The house retains much of its original 1930s vernacular/Colonial Revival design," the nomination form says. "The property retains the feeling of a farmhouse from the 1930s-era Dyess Colony."

Cash was born in 1932 in Kingsland, Arkansas, according to the official website devoted to the musician. His family later moved to Dyess.

He began his music career as a rockabilly singer in Memphis on the same Sun Records label as Elvis Presley and is a member of both the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com

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