Arkansas State University Heritage Sites

Arkansas Heritage Sites: This office at Arkansas State University develops and operates historic properties of regional and national significance in the Arkansas Delta. These sites provide educational resources for formal and informal learning, including serving as living laboratories for students in the University’s Heritage Studies Ph.D. program. In addition, they serve as economic catalysts in communities where they are located by attracting heritage tourists from around the world.

Historic Dyess Colony: Boyhood Home of Johnny Cash, Dyess, AR: Historic Dyess Colony: Boyhood Home of Johnny Cash-The Dyess Colony 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 a federal agricultural resettlement community, it provided a fresh start for nearly 500 impoverished Arkansas farm families, including the family of music legend Johnny Cash. The Colony is being resurrected through restoration of several historic buildings, including the Dyess Colony Administration Building and the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home.

Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center, The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center in Piggott, Arkansas includes a barn studio associated with Ernest Hemingway and the family home of his second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer. Pauline’s parents, Paul and Mary Pfeiffer, were prominent citizens of Northeast Arkansas and owned more than 60,000 acres of land. During the 1930s the barn was converted to a studio to give Hemingway privacy for writing while visiting Piggott. Portions of one of his most famous novels, A Farewell to Arms, and several short stories were written in this studio. Both the home and the barn studio were named to the National Historic Register in 1982. The properties have been renovated, focusing on the 1930s era. Areas of emphasis for the Museum and Educational Center include literature of the period, 1930s world events, agriculture, family lifestyles and relationships, and development of Northeast Arkansas during the Depression and New Deal eras.

Southern Tenant Farmers Museum, During the 1930s, this building housed the dry cleaning business of H. L. Mitchell and the service station of Clay East, two organizers of the Southern Tenant Farmers Union in 1934. Their building served as the unofficial headquarters for the union until offices were moved to Memphis for safety. The Museum also includes the adjacent historic Tyronza Bank building.  The restored site focuses on the farm labor movement in the South and the tenant farming and sharecropping system of agriculture.

Rohwer Japanese American Relocation Center, Rohwer, AR: Between 1942 and 1945, up to 8,000 Japanese Americans were interned at Rohwer—a 500-acre camp surrounded by barbed wire and armed guards. Today all that remains is a cemetery and the smokestack from the camp’s hospital. Though most physical evidence has been wiped from the landscape, important stories remain to be shared. The Arkansas Heritage Sites office has installed interpretive exhibits along the gravel road adjacent to the cemetery. Also visit: WWII Japanese American Internment MuseumMcGehee, AR: The museum is located at 100 South Railroad Street in the renovated south building of the McGehee Railroad Depot.

Historic V. C. Kays House, Jonesboro, AR: This 1936 Tudor-style residence on the Arkansas State University campus was the home of the institution’s first president, Victor Cicero Kays. The school thrived during his 33-year tenure — from 1910 through 1943– despite challenging circumstances that included two world wars, the Great Depression, and a 1931 fire that destroyed the school’s main building. The house has been restored and serves as offices for the Arkansas State University Heritage Sites staff.