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Johnny Cash's boyhood home added to national historic register

DYESS, Ark. --The Man in Black's boyhood home has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program announced Friday that the home in Dyess where country music icon Johnny Cash lived from age 3 through high school has been added to the register. 

Dyess is a small Arkansas town close to the Tennessee border. Cash's daughter, Rosanne Cash, said town was "just empty land" before President Roosevelt.

The five-room farmhouse was built in 1934 as part of the Dyess Resettlement Colony by the Federal Emergency Relief Administration.

Anthony Mason Rosanne Cash Dyess house2.jpg

Roseanne Cash showed CBS News' Anthony Mason on "Sunday Morning" in 2014 what would have been Johnny Cash's bedroom, which he shared with his brother, Jack, and sisters, Louise and Reba: "Four children in this room."  

Rosanne had first seen the house as a child in 1968, when the Man in Black returned to Dyess -- what he described as "a beautiful little place."

"I sensed this kind of a weight about it, a sadness," she recalled. "And at 12 I didn't really assimilate what that was about.

"I think it took me until now to understand," she said -- to understand how Johnny Cash's strength grew out of the "gumbo soil" of Dyess, and how his sadness took root there, too. 

"He lost his brother here, who was his best friend and his hero," she said. "But even more than that, understanding of what it meant to my dad now, I understand what it means to me."

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the house is owned by Arkansas State University, which spent $575,000 to buy, restore, furnish and landscape the property.

Cash died in 2003 at age 71 after an incredibly successful musical career. Among his many hit songs were "I Walk the Line" and "Ring of Fire."

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