DYESS, AR - The grand opening for the Dyess Colony Visitor's Center was held Saturday.
Visitors enjoyed free food, drinks and checked out exhibits that add to the historical legacy of where Johnny Cash grew up.
The project of turning the Dyess Colony community into a well-known heritage site is now complete with phase two of the master plan for the Dyess Colony restoration.
This included the transformation of the theatre and pop shop, which burned down and was rebuilt in 1947, into the Dyess Colony Visitor's Center.
This new addition will serve as a visitor and orientation center, featuring films, materials and other exhibits.
Executive Director of A-state's Heritage Sites Program Dr. Ruth Hawkins and other A-state personnel have worked to obtain a series grants and private donations to make this restoration project a reality.
"It's important to preserve our past, which is disappearing rapidly," Hawkins said. "So it's a significant era in our nation's history and of course Cash is an international icon so preserving where he grew up is extremely important."
Joanne Cash, Johnny Cash's sister, said it's amazing to see this replay of their childhood.
"I'm just absolutely overwhelmed with this whole restoration of our home town," Cash said. "They say you can't go back home, but I'm here."
The visitor's center will be open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
They also announced during the event that in 2017 the Johnny Cash Heritage Festival will be held in Dyess to give the inaugural event a great sense of both time and place associated with Johnny Cash's early years.
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