Historic Dyess Colony: Boyhood Home of Johnny Cash, Dyess

4.8
#29 of 103 in Museums in Arkansas
Last tours of the day begin at 3 p.m. $10 general admission, $8 Seniors, $5 Students ages 5-18 or with College ID, Free to ASU Students and Children under 5 years of age.

The Dyess Colony in Northeast Arkansas 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 one of the nation’s earliest and largest federal agricultural resettlement communities, it provided a fresh start for nearly 500 out-of-work Arkansas farm families, including the family of music legend Johnny Cash.

Led by colony namesake W. R. Dyess, the Works Progress Administration and the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, acquired about 16,000 acres of swampy, forested land in Mississippi County and divided it into 20- to 40-acre potential farmsteads. A house and outbuildings were provided on each, with colonists expected to pay the government back after clearing the land and converting it to agricultural production. The government also established a Colony Center, with a two-story Administration Building as the centerpiece, to provide cooperative services to colonists.

Though most of the buildings and colony houses are now gone, Arkansas State University, in partnership with the City of Dyess, has restored the remaining Administration Building and the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home. The Administration Building now houses the Dyess Colony Museum (along with city offices), while the Cash Home is furnished as it appeared when the Cash family lived there, from 1935 through 1953, A former theatre adjacent to the Administration Building is being recreated as a visitor center.
A visit to Historic Dyess Colony: Boyhood Home of Johnny Cash represents just the start of the adventure when you use our Dyess travel planner to plot your vacation.
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  • The Johnny Cash Boyhood Home merges the Deep South, crushing poverty, hope, change, the unifying power of music across lines of race and class and brings the visitor home to the heart of what it is to...  more »
  • Of course we knew Dyess was the hometown of Johnny Cash but who knew about the Dyess Colony? Dyess, AR was a project left over from the New Deal Days of long ago--Dyess was to provide destitute farmer...  more »

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