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Bly the ville Cha mber of Commerce Resource Guide & Pull-Out Map w w w. g r e at e r b l y t h e v i l l e . c o m

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Hampton Inn Blytheville 301 N. Service Road I-55, Blytheville, Arkansas, 72315

USA TEL: +1-870-763-5220 FAX: +1-870-762-1397

Unwind in one of our spacious guest rooms and find everything you need for a comfortable and productive stay. Surf the web with free high-speed Internet access and enjoy a restful sleep in the clean and fresh Hampton bed®. Catch up with work in the hotel’s fully equipped business center. Make the most of your leisure time with a workout in the fitness center or swim in the tranquil outdoor pool. In the evening, visit our inviting onsite restaurant, Great Wall of China, and dine on delicious Chinese favorites from the buffet. • 70 spacious guest rooms, including accessible rooms • Outdoor swimming pool • Fully-equipped business center • Microwave and refrigerator in every guest room • On-the-Run® Breakfast Bags available Monday-Friday • Located just off I-55 with easy access to many attractions • Free hot breakfast • Clean and fresh Hampton bed® • Free WiFi in every room • Fitness room use

Conveniently located off I-55, this Arkansas hotel is just minutes from the industrial park and historic downtown shopping. Enjoy small-town living with the ease of interstate accessibility in Blytheville, only five miles from the majestic Mississippi River.

www.blytheville.hamptoninn.com

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

6 Welcome to the Blytheville Area! 8 The Great River Road 9 Greyhound Bus Station 10 The Story of the Delta 12 Eaker Air Force Base 14 Lights of the Delta 16 Wilson: A Historic Village 17 All Things Johnny Cash 18 the history of Dyess 20 Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge 22 Advertiser Index

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this publication. The Chamber and Town Square assume no responsibility for misinformation. Please contact the Chamber with any additions or corrections. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission of the Chamber and Town Square is prohibited. This is a Town Square Publication created and produced for the Greater Blytheville Area Chamber of Commerce 300 W. Walnut St. Blytheville, AR 72315 Phone: (870) 762-2012 • Fax: (870) 762-0551 Website: www.greaterblytheville.com Copyright© 2017 Town Square Publications 155 E. Algonquin Rd., Arlington Heights, IL 60005 www.townsquarepublications.com

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Chairman, CEO and Publisher Douglas K. Ray President and Chief Operating Officer Scott Stone Vice President/Director Scott Ray Production Manager Joe Nugara Content Coordinator/Client Liaison Stefanie Nugara Graphic Designer & Editor Gail Gaboda Ad Production Coordinators David Abraham and Tiffany Salerno Directory Coordinator Michael Sumrak Contributing Writer Jill Tridgell Acquisition Manager Scott Ray Advertising Sales Rader Walker

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Serving Arkansas for Nearly 40 Years Experience You Can Count On! Two Locations to Serve You:

BLYTHEVILLE 900 N. Lockard 870-763-4000

MOUNTAIN HOME 5499 Hwy. 62E 870-492-4008

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WELCOME TO THE BLYTHEVILLE AREA!

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his region of northeast Arkansas has experienced a beguiling evolution of lumber mills, cotton farms, steelmaking and the blues. Located only five miles off the Mississippi River — known here as the Great River — Blytheville combines small-town charm with the easy accessibility of big-city amenities. Only an hour south on Interstate 55 is the city of Memphis, Tennessee, and just 215 miles north is the thriving St. Louis, Missouri. As part of the Mississippi River delta region of the U.S., Blytheville is the gateway to the Arkansas Delta, opening the door to the Arkansas Mississippi River Valley, the Great River Road National Scenic Byway and the rich history that follows the river southward through the entire length of the state. The area also has a deep-rooted underlying history — literally. For beneath the alluvial delta soil, remnants of a sophisticated preColumbian society have been discovered. Extensive “digs” on the former Blytheville Air Force Base have revealed entire households, complete with pottery and artifacts galore. The region was ideal for such a big settlement, bordering the mighty Mississippi — superb for travel — and imparting soil fertile enough to grow any crop. Points of interest are many. The former Eaker Air Force Base, closed in the early ’90s,

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now home to business and industry alike, is seeing a new role as an emerging Cold War historic site. Lights of the Delta, a holiday fantasy of lights, brings the Christmas season alive as the largest display of its kind in the entire mid-South. Only a few miles away, hunters, fishermen and bird-watchers find incredible sites and species at the Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Historic downtown Blytheville is characterized by the art-deco period Greyhound Bus Station — a true relic with many stories to tell; and by the ever-developing Delta Gateway museum, which tells the area’s whole story. Wilson, Arkansas, is only a few miles south — a town undergoing incredible historic preservation and development and clearly worth a visit. And finally, further south is the amazing restoration of the boyhood home of famed Johnny Cash and his little hometown of Dyess, which has a remarkable history of its own. For those looking for authentic, back-tothe-roots tourism experience, the Blytheville region is ideal. People of this delta region have been resilient, hard-working and have long depended on the luxury the land provided. It all becomes apparent to visitors once they absorb just a touch of the slow and easy Delta lifestyle and the best hospitality in the world.

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Helping Arkansas grow. At Entergy Arkansas, we’re doing everything we can to stimulate growth by supporting economic development. Creating jobs • Providing reliable electric service • Offering cost- and energy-saving customer programs Partnering with organizations to promote conservation • Investing in our communities entergyarkansas.com/powertogrow

A message from Entergy Arkansas, Inc. ©2016 Entergy Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Commercial Collections, Inc.

a debts management company 505 Hutson Street Post Office Box 3 Blytheville, AR 72316 (870) 762-1095 (870)-762-1162 ccibly@sbcglobal.net

Licensed Arkansas state Board of Collections Bonded with Fidelity & Deposit Co. of Maryland Member: American Collectors Associations Arkansas Collector Associations Blytheville Chamber of Commerce

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BLYTHEVILLE/GOSNELL REGIONAL AIRPORT AUTHORITY 4701 Memorial Drive Blytheville, AR 72315

Ph: 870-532-2100 Fax: 870-532-2146

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3859 N. COUNTY RD. 919 ARMOREL, AR 72310 TEL: (870) 762-0655 FAX: (870) 762-0749

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THE GREAT RIVER ROAD

A National Scenic Byway

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he Great River Road National Scenic Byway follows the course of the Mississippi River for 3,000 miles from northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. The scenic route passes through 10 states and hundreds of river towns. The Road is, however, not just a single thoroughfare, but rather a well-marked series of different roads and highways that roughly follow the winding course of the Mississippi River. All along the Great River Road, travelers will find white signs displaying the green pilot’s wheel logo — the symbol that denotes which roads are part of the designated route. It takes about 36 hours of straight driving to travel from north to south along the byway. Most people take four to 10 days to make the journey. Arguably the longest and most important scenic byway in America, the Great River Road enters Arkansas just north of Blytheville. It continues, crossing America’s Delta region. The rich soil is planted with soybeans, rice, cotton and wheat. In some places, huge expanses of cropland stretch out for miles. The long history of the region is revealed at the Hampson Archeological Museum State Park and the Parkin Archeological State Park. The Delta Cultural Center in historic downtown Helena tells the story of the Arkansas Delta, particularly the history of the blues.

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One of the most interesting geological features of the region is Crowley’s Ridge, which rises to 200 feet above the broad, flat land of the Delta. The Great River Road runs atop Crowley’s Ridge as it passes through the St. Francis National Forest. The wetlands that once characterized the Arkansas Delta are revealed at the White River National Wildlife Refuge. This vast complex of bottomland hardwood forest includes more than 300 lakes, streams and sloughs, attracting millions of migratory birds each year. The entire river route has been selected for its natural, cultural, historical, recreational and scenic properties and its federal designation as a National Scenic Byway recognizes the these outstanding assets. All along the Great River Road National Scenic Byway, you’ll find tourism amenities as well Interpretive centers that help travelers experience the many facets of Mississippi River Region. The communities visitors encounter along the Road — from tiny riverside villages to vibrant metropolises — reflect the living history of the region through music, culture and local cuisine. Travelers can spend a day exploring a short portion of the byway, or a week traveling through several states — or many weeks traveling the entire length of the river. It would take a lifetime to truly experience all that the Great River Road offers.

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GREYHOUND BUS STATION

Art Deco, Blues and Byes

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ocated in historic downtown, the Greyhound Bus Station, home to Main Street Blytheville, poses a crucial reflection of the area’s heritage. The only freestanding deco-moderne Greyhound station remaining, the site is restored to its original state, recalling the time when it was a vital spot on the Dixie Line that connected the South to the North and transported Southern music to Chicago. It also provided the last goodbye for many soldiers as they left for three wars, and its structure preserves even some less honorable aspects of area history, with separate entrances for “coloreds” and “whites.” Located on the corner of Main and North 5th Streets in Blytheville, the depot was designed by Memphis architect Norland Van Powell, and constructed in 1939. Though abandoned some years ago as a bus station, it still stands as a landmark building within the community, characterized by its unique Art Deco style with a curved facade of smooth blue panels and stepped massing of elements throughout. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it also remains as among the only Art Deco style stations in the U.S. The building, however, is not valuable just for its structural individuality. Its influence in history bears importance. Most significantly, Blytheville was a pivotal point in the

Greyhound bus route that spread “the Blues” northward from the Mississippi Delta, as African American musicians migrated north to the world of big-band jazz. The Blytheville bus station was a hub on The Blues Highway, where such blues greats as Howlin’ Wolf, Elmore James, and Muddy Waters traveled. The blues has since been forged in history as the first true American native musical form, and holds strong sociological implications for the entire country. The Greyhound bus also was once the only means of transportation to other towns for many people, particularly after the Great Depression, when the economic downturn sent southerners onward to what they perceived as better economic opportunities. And in terms of the history of the US, the Greyhound Bus Station again plays a role — Its lobby holds historic memories for those who said what turned out to be their last goodbyes to outbound soldiers in World War II, and in the Korean and Viet Nam conflicts. One more link in the rich history of the Arkansas Delta, the gleaming blue Greyhound Bus Station is now a visitor’s center as well as an entertainment venue and a general point of interest. For instance, one recent spring, the bus station was the site for a grand antique bus reunion, when the “Ghosts of Highway 61” festival brought over 200 buses to town.

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THE STORY OF THE DELTA

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o place in the United States offers a more interesting heritage than the Arkansas Delta region, and the Delta Gateway museum, housed in the historic Kress Building on Main Street in Blytheville is a work-in-progress, building a reflection of that rich history. In one of the community’s most exciting projects, the Kress, once a “five and dime” and now on the National Registry of Historic Places, will feature a comprehensive look back and to the present. Exhibits will depict the entire history of the agricultural and industrial growth of the area. Also, the museum will trace the people of Mississippi County, their trials and tribulations, the impact of nature, and the expertise they developed from the pre-Colombian era till modern times. Home to a continuous series of temporary exhibits, the Delta Gateway Museum is now installing its first permanent exhibit — a look at the fascinating prehistoric and protohistoric Native American culture that pre-existed farming — and it is worth a visit. Funded through various sources — private, grants, and public money — the museum provides free, heritage-based cultural and educational opportunities for regional school children, senior citizens, underserved populations, tourists and the general public. This is a real, fully working museum: It collects, stores, maintains and regularly exhibits historical and cultural objects, artifacts, photographs, works of art, printed materials and audiovisual materials that relate to and emphasize the history and cultural development of the region, including Blytheville, Mississippi County, Northeast Arkansas, Southeast Missouri and the Arkansas Delta. Planned exhibits, in addition to the first on Native American culture, will illustrate

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the importance of the timber industry and the development of cotton agriculture; the historical effects and continuing threat of earthquakes and flooding; the regional impact of the Air Force base and steel mills; and the development of river, rail and roadway transportation. The historic Kress Building is owned by the City of Blytheville. Since gaining its spot on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997, the building has been rehabilitated according to federal standards, as set in the “Standards for Treatment of Historic Properties” by the Secretary of the Interior, as well as ADA standards for accessibility and restrooms. DGM currently uses about 6,000 square feet of exhibit, collections storage and administrative space. As funding continues to develop for additional building renovations and rehabilitation, the usable space will eventually increase to 22,000 square feet. Opened to the public in November 2011, the Delta Gateway facility is overseen by the Delta Gateway Museum Commission, an independent agency created in 2007 for the sole purpose of establishing the museum. The Museum Commission is responsible for managing the facility’s annual expense budget provided by the City of Blytheville, formulating policy, raising funds and supervising the upkeep of the Kress Building, and hiring professional staff to manage dayto-day operations. “We are doing everything as carefully and thoroughly as possible,” said Leslie Hester, the museum’s director. “The history is so rich, so fascinating…we cannot afford to shortcut it in any way.” For more information on the Delta Gateway Museum, call (870) 824-2346 or visit deltagatewaymuseum.weebly.com.

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Terry AbsTrAcT compAny

Abstracts of Title • Title Insurance • Loan Closing Services As one of the oldest businesses in Blytheville, Terry Abstract Company has been providing prompt, reliable, comprehensive services for the Real Estate industry for over 100 years. Terry Abstract Company is proud to be involved with our fellow professionals in the real estate industry who make the process of buying and selling your home as effortless as possible.

210 West Main Blytheville, AR Tue - Fri 1 - 5 Sat 10 - 4 www.deltagatewaymuseum.org 870-824-2346

405 North Broadway Blytheville, AR 72315 870-762-2381 www.terryabstract.com

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EAKER AIR FORCE BASE

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When the War was Cold

aker Air Force Base, which officially closed in 1992 and was formerly known as Blytheville Air Force Base, comprised some 3,778 acres of land on the north side of Blytheville. Originally an army air field installation used by the US military during World War II, the base eventually became a Strategic Air Command base as part of the US Air Force.

In 1959, the Ninety-seventh Bombardment Wing took control of the base, bringing in the historic B-52 bomber, along with the KC-135 Stratotanker aerial refueling aircraft. Blytheville Air Force Base held a significant standing during the Cold War. In 1962, the base was place on airborne alert when the U.S. discovered that with the aid of Russia, Cuba was building nuclear missile silos. A dramatic stand-off ended, but for its historic readiness, the wing was named Air Force Outstanding Unit. The Ninety-seventh continued an alert process throughout the years of the Cold War, with crews ready to be airborne in a matter of minutes. As Cold War history earns its way into the history books, BAFB gains significance as a historic site. The Ninety-seventh was also involved in the Vietnam War in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In 1965, the wing participated as refuelers in Operation Young Tiger, with pilots stationed at Guam. Years later the wing practiced overseas in the Middle East as they began working in the last war the base was to

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serve, Operation Desert Storm.

Blytheville Air Force Base was a major economic resource for the communities of Blytheville and Gosnell, not only contributing some 5,000 people to the population base, but also fostering healthy churches, schools and civic organizations through involvement of an eclectic and diverse group of military personnel. The professional scientists, engineers, pilot and other personnel who relocated to Blytheville brought an enhanced dynamic to this predominantly agricultural delta community. Today, Eaker is home to a number of industries and houses numerous small businesses. A retirement village — Westminster — utilizes former base housing, providing a home ground for over 300 families. A section of the base becomes the holiday light display, Lights of the Delta, during the Christmas season. Also on the property is the Blytheville Youth Sports Complex, a state-of-the-art facility for baseball, softball and soccer and one that attracts nationwide tournaments. A variety of other tourist-related activities take place on the base, from car races to car shows to air shows to model airplane meets. The vast space of the “old” base lends Blytheville a unique venue for an array of activities. And not to be forgotten, the runways are still active. The 11,000-foot main runway has even been the landing spot for Air Force I.

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IAC Supply Solutions 4500 East Main Street. Blytheville, AR 72315

Automation

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870-763-1500 Phone 800-443-3010 Toll Free 870-763-3849 Fax

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SYSTEMS, INC.

1411 E. Moultrie-P.O. Box 525 Blytheville, AR 72315

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Mississippi County Electric Cooperative Inc. 510 North Broadway • Blytheville, AR 72315

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LIGHTS OF THE DELTA

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Holiday Fantasy

any annual events are celebrated in the Blytheville area, but none are as spectacular as Lights of the Delta. From Thanksgiving through just after Christmas, one of the midSouth’s largest festivals of lights is open to the public at the Arkansas Aeroplex.

This drive-through is an absolute wonderland. Just about 1.5 miles long, it features seven million lights, with 50 unique display, including Noah’s Ark — watch the animals come aboard — and depicting local sites, the Greyhound Bus Station and the Painted House, made famous by the novel by John Grisham. Other displays feature an ice-skater (is that really ice she is skating on?), the bouncing ball, Nutcrackers and all array of Christmas-related characters. The beautiful “Legacy” display memorializes loved ones with millions of twinkling stars and angels. For even more fun, Lights of the Delta offers group hayrides, concession a gift shop. Three nights per week, The Lights are visited by none other than Santa Claus himself, available for photos and Christmas wishes.

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Lights of the Delta began as a project of Main Street Blytheville some 15 years ago. Now a nonprofit organization of its own, its board works tirelessly all year to maintain displays and to find new additions to the exhibit. Funding comes almost exclusively from private and corporate donations, along with gate receipts from the 40,000+ visitors that travel through each year. Indeed, the Arkansas Delta is all a-twinkle during the holiday season! If you don’t believe it, make a special trip through the fabulous Lights of the Delta! For more information, visit lightsofthedelta. com

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The Mid-South’s largest

Holiday Lighting Festival Six million lights • 48 major displays

1-870-762-9788 • www.lightsofthedelta.com

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3005 Floral Plaza Drive Blytheville, AR 72315 USA Office: 870-532-1619 Fax: 870-532-5455 Since 2015

2501 S. DIVISION ST. BLYTHEVILLE, AR 72315 870-838-2955

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WILSON: A HISTORIC VILLAGE

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omething huge is happening in a tiny Arkansas town, and people are taking notice.

The small town of Wilson is undergoing about as big of an overhaul as you can imagine for a community of just 900. How the town came to be and its evolution in recent years truly make this little area one-of-a-kind. Farm magnate Gaylon Lawrence Jr. oversees an estate that essentially purchased the entire town in 2010. His family owns most of the farmland that encircles Wilson. They also own a large majority of commercial property in town. Lawrence bought the town from the Wilsons, who had owned the town for 125 years but sold their estate after a sudden death in the family. Founded by Robert E. Lee Wilson in 1886, Wilson was considered the most important “company town” in the South and the Mississippi Delta Region. His company claimed to own the world’s largest cotton plantation, with 57,000 acres. His family owned the town by way of running every major business from bank to schools to the cotton gin. So when Lawrence stepped in, people wondered what was in store. So far, it’s been more than they could have imagined. Lawrence has pumped millions into the town, sprucing up aged buildings and overhauling or even resuscitating others, including the historic cotton gin and old town favorite Wilson Cafe. Naturally, other newer initiatives for this farm community include a large gardening system and a communitysupported agriculture program. WILSON GARDENS Agriculture is quite literally at the roots of Wilson. Farming is an old art that many still respect and practice here, and it remains a focal point of the town. The key is helping locals make the connection between people, land and food. Enter Wilson Gardens. The idea officially germinated in spring 2014 as an initiative to generate crops for locals and to grow a different kind of farm, according to farm director Leslie Wolverton. Produce from these 200 acres can be found locally in Wilson at our Grange Farm Market, through the community-supported agriculture program, and in area restaurants. “Our mission is simply to support the people of our region in leading healthier, richer lives,” Wolverton said. “We are working to bringing people together in the celebration

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of food: how it is cultivated, prepared and feasted upon. By nurturing the connection between people, food and the land in which it is grown, we intend to build a resilient community of empowered eaters.” The farm hosts village hall meetings, as well as community events like a regular music series, film festival and even Santa visits. It is also rentable venue. HAMPSON ARCHEOLOGICAL MUSEUM Another gem in town is the Hampson Archeological Museum, which houses one of the world’s most extraordinary collections of American Indian artisan experiences and artifacts, and it’s a major source of data on the lives and history of late pre-Columbian people of the Mississippi River Valley. Work is underway on a new, state-of-the-art space, where it will house the noteworthy artifacts from the 15-acre Nodena site of Late Mississippian Period Native Americans. The new incarnation will offer special programming in addition to an interactive educational exhibit. It is named after landowner and archeologist James K. Hampson, who began excavating the site in the 1920s. Prior to that, in 1900, Hampson had documented the nearby discovery of a prehistoric mastodon skeleton. THEY CALL HIM ISH One of the people most representative of Wilson is Ismael Herrera, who’s known by almost everyone as simply “Ish.” He is the creative mind and unassuming personality behind an unusual collection of buildings along Highway 61, just off I-55 near Bassett, Ark. He operates and maintains the buildings, some businesses and much of the machinery in and around Wilson, thanks to his working knowledge and experience as a welder, farm mechanic, bar owner and veteran. Wilson might be small in numbers, but it’s large in character and interest. The history here plus its ongoing, remarkable transformation make it a unique tourism destination that won’t soon be forgotten.

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ALL THINGS JOHNNY CASH

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ho would have ever predicted that a little farming project in northeastern Arkansas would plant the seeds for some of the most well-known song lyrics in American music history? Johnny Cash’s family found themselves in Dyess, in 1935 when they were recruited to the area through President Franklin Roosevelt’s Dyess Colony — a New Deal initiative in Mississippi County. The Cashes and a few hundred other beleaguered farm families hit hard by the Great Depression were given homesteads to clear and convert to active farmland as part of an endeavor to help the country start to rebound financially. Each was also given a house. Theirs served as Johnny Cash’s childhood home and is featured in the movie “I Walk the Line.” In 2011, Arkansas State University, as part of The Dyess Colony Redevelopment Master Plan, acquired the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home, which had deteriorated to a shell of its former self. It took a few years, but the white, two-bedroom ranch has been restored with proceeds from an annual Johnny Cash Music Festival, as well as donations. It opened in August 2014, with several members of the Cash family on hand to take the grand tour. The master plan also calls for increasing tourism appeal by making these attractions more pedestrian friendly by placing historic markers at appropriate locations and creating a walking/biking trail from another nearby preserved building to the Cash home. That neighboring restored building — the Dyess Colony Museum — contains exhibits related to the establishment of the colony

and how life there influenced the late Cash’s songwriting, which spanned several genres including country, gospel, folk, blues and rock. From the visitors’ center, guests can take a shuttle to the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home, less than two miles from the Colony Center. Family details and memories helped preservationists be able to furnish the home with period-accurate pieces to replicate how it looked when the Cashes lived there for almost 20 years until 1954. A few pieces of the family’s original furniture, such as his mother’s piano — where the family often gathered to sing, are viewable as well. Johnny’s parents, Ray and Carrie Cash, were among the nearly 500 colonist families recruited from all over Arkansas to the historic Dyess Colony. The Cashes moved to Dyess in March 1935 with their five children, Roy, 13; Louise, 11; Jack, 5; Johnny (known then as J. R.), 3; and Reba, 1. Two more children, Joanne and Tommy, were born in Dyess. The musical icon lived in town until he graduated from high school in 1950. His songs like “Pickin’ Time” and “Five Feet High and Rising” depict the formative years he spent in Dyess. The former talks about time spent in the cotton fields; the latter references the 1937 flood that temporarily forced families out of Dyess. He is no doubt the most famous resident, and he’s also the most cherished. Another tribute to him will kick off in 2017 with the Johnny Cash Heritage Festival, which is slated for Oct. 19-21 in Dyess. A visit to Dyess is a literal trip down musical memory lane.

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THE HISTORY OF DYESS

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yess’s hardscrabble roots are the stuff hit songs are made of. A number of gritty lyrics were penned about this modest town, leaving a lasting, indelible impression on America as a whole – largely thanks to its native son and musician Johnny Cash. Founded in 1934 as a federal government experiment of sorts, the town was established as a way for farmers across the state to recover from the painful blows dealt by the Great Depression. The Dyess Colony was assembled as an agricultural resettlement community developed under the Works Progress Administration (WPA) as part of the New Deal through President Franklin Roosevelt. It was named after Arkansas’s first WPA administrator, William Reynolds Dyess. The colony was shaped like a radial spoke, with a community center in the middle from which farmsteads jutted out. The first 13 families settled here in fall 1934. The project eventually swelled to include 500 family parcels. It’s believed to be the largest such community-building experiment established by the federal government during that time. The initiative meant farmers each were given a new piece of land – swampland, that is. The parcels needed major work in order to be crop-ready. Struggles here were welldocumented by Cash, whose family grew cotton in Dyess. The Cash home is one of the few houses remaining in the former colony. But make no mistake, current residents take pride in remnants left from their town’s meager beginnings. It’s something they strive to preserve while also keeping an eye toward the future in this town of roughly 400. “The Dyess Colony is truly symbolic of the American Dream — affirming the idea that a boy from desperately poor circumstances could rise to become an international music icon,” said Dr. Ruth Hawkins, executive director of Arkansas State University Heritage Sites, which oversees the Dyess Colony, among others. But it is so much more than just the boyhood home of the Man in Black. “As one of the nation’s largest agricultural resettlement colonies during the New Deal, its surviving buildings stand today as a tribute and a reminder of the hard work, perseverance, and cooperative spirit that provided a new start in life for hundreds of Arkansas farm families and contributed to

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the development of Mississippi County and Northeast Arkansas,” Hawkins said. Today, the city is in the middle of a longterm growth project called The Dyess Colony Redevelopment Master Plan, which was set into motion in 2010. The overarching goal is to develop the area as a heritage tourism site, with a two-pronged focus on agricultural heritage and the Cash family. Part of that plan allowed for the city to donate its former administration building and adjacent theater center shell to Arkansas State University, which turned it into a center for exhibits related to the Dyess Colony, the Cash family and the impact of Dyess on Cash and his music. Several agencies are pitching in to make these changes come to fruition, but Arkansas State University has taken the lead in preserving the remaining historic buildings. Other phases of the project include recreating farm buildings at the Cash home; recreating one of the adjacent colony houses to provide visitor services; and installing signage at locations of previously existing colony structures, such as the hospital, gin, cannery and school. Other redevelopment master plan highlights aim to: • Preserve the remaining Dyess Colony historic buildings, particularly within the Colony Circle and the Johnny Cash Boyhood HomeDevelop a tourism experience that encompasses the entire community. • Develop community infrastructure for the mutual benefit of residents and tourists alike, including improving roads and public utilities. • Encourage entrepreneurial and small business development to provide visitor amenities and services. • Develop and enforce city ordinances to enhance community aesthetics, ensure public safety, and ensure planned growth. • Provide incentives for general cleanup and compatible renovations to existing structures.

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AZCO STEEL CO. Div. of Bushwick Metals

REX BERRY

Electrical & Industrial Supply 310 S. Lockard Blytheville, AR 72315 Tel (870) 762-5600 www.eisupply.shopced.com Authorized

Distributors

Plant Manager

870-762-2300 205-789-7562 (Cell) 5888 E State Hwy 18 Blytheville, AR 72315

www.BushwickMetals.com

Sharp’s Heating & Air For all your heating and cooling needs.

Steve A. Sharp Owner

Depend On Us.

P.O. Box 83 Dell, AR 72426 8702785138

sharpsheatingandair@gmail.com Call for free estimates

El Puerto Mexican Restaurant 1520 E Main St • Blytheville, AR 72315

(870) 762-1414

Mon - Thu 11:00 am - 9:00 pm Fri - Sat 9:00 am - 10:00 pm Commitment to Quality Paul Newell’s

Collision Center Paul Newell’s

Auto Rental

909C East main St. Blytheville, Ar 72315 • (870) 763-5000 WWW.BLY THE VILLECHA M BER. COM

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BIG LAKE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

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Protecting 0ur Wildlife

his beautiful refuge located some 15 miles west of Blytheville offers a plethora of natural resources for the outdoorsman.

Once a free-flowing river system, Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge changed to a lake/ swamp ecosystem due to the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-12. Today, Big Lake features a large area of wooded swamps as well as open water. The lake, with an average depth of three feet, is shallow and is bordered by a swamp of virgin cypresstupelo trees, along with some black willow and buttonbush. A study in horticulture, the swamp also grows Smartweed, American lotus and water lily. Tree species on higher ground include cottonwood, green ash, hackberry, red maple, sycamore, river birch and a variety of oaks. Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge is a true oasis of bottomland hardwood in an agriculturally developed area. To preserve its value, approximately 6,400 acres are designated as a National Natural Landmark and an additional 2,100 acres of the Natural Landmark are included in the United States Wilderness Preservation System. A variety of water fowl seek winter refuge at Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge, which annually winters over 200,000 birds at peak numbers in January and February. Wood ducks are year-round residents, raising

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approximately 2,500 young per year in natural cavities and nest boxes. Bird species number over 225, and have been observed on the refuge and are frequently recorded by visiting ornithologists. Visitors often site numerous other wildlife, including beavers, otters, raccoons, wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, bobcat and the occasional armadillo. The stars of the show, however, are the spectacular eagles, nesting and flying throughout the reserve. Visit Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge. From Blytheville, travel west on State Highway 18 approximately 15 miles. From Jonesboro, travel east on State Highway 18 approximately 35 miles. Headquarters is located on the north side of the highway. Various directional signs are located along the route — a route to a rewarding and enlightening view of nature in the Natural State!

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25,000 Square Feet of Quality Home Furnishings

O

O ne great rental community,

Celebrating our 20 year Anniversary

TWO GREAT LIFESTYLE CHOICES.

W estminster Village: A Great Place to Retire! Enjoy privacy in your spacious, one level, 3 or 4 Bedroom home (1,064 - 1,566 sq. ft.), and a host of amenities and social activities geared to casual retirement living.

S outhPointe: More to Come Home to! Families and singles of all ages are enjoying this friendly, affordable neighborhood of 3 and 4 Bedroom homes (1,169 - 1,329 sq. ft.) where children go to Gosnell Schools. Shady, tree-lined avenues and sidewalks border larger lots with plenty of yard space. (870) 532-6696 or 1-800-914-2516 | 5215 Southside Drive • Blytheville, AR 72315

SouthPointe

More to come home to!

www.wmv.org

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ADVERTISER INDEX Acme Pest Management, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Azco steel co. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Arkansas Northeastern College . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 The Arts Council of Mississippi County . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Blytheville/Gosnell Regional Airport Authority — Arkansas Aeroplex . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Commercial Collections, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Delta Gateway Museum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Dennis Allen Construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Downtown Blytheville National Historic District . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 El Puerto Mexican Restaurant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Electrical & Industrial Supply . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Entergy Arkansas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Five Star Hydraulics, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Hampton Inn blytheville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3, 23 The Haven of Northeast Arkansas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Hubbard & Hoke Furniture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 IAC Supply Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 JMS Russel Metals Corp. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 KIPP:Blytheville Thunder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Lights of the Delta . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 M. C. E. C. I. — Mississippi County Electric Cooperative, Inc. . . . . . . . . . 13 Myers Aviation, LLC / Myers Flying Service, Inc. . . . . . . . . . 11 N.E.T. Systems, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 NIBCO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Nucor — Yamato Steel / Nucor Castrip Arkansas, LLC / Nucor Steel Arkansas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Paul Newell’s Collision Center / Paul Newell’s Auto Rental . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Ritter Communications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Schueck Fabrication Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Sharp’s Heating & Air . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Southern Bancorp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Staffmark . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Stracener Bros. Construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Terry Abstract Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Thomas, Speight & Noble . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Westminster Village of the Mid-South . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21

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U

nwind in one of our spacious guest rooms and find everything you need for a comfortable and productive stay. Surf the web with free high-speed internet access and enjoy a restful sleep in the clean and fresh Hampton bed®. Catch up with work in the hotel’s fully equipped business center. Make the most of your leisure time with a workout in the fitness center or swim in the tranquil outdoor pool. In the evening, visit our inviting onsite restaurant, Great Wall of China, and dine on delicious Chinese favorites from the buffet. 70 spacious guest rooms, including accessible rooms Outdoor swimming pool Fully-equipped business center Microwave and refrigerator in every guest room On-the-Run® Breakfast Bags available Monday-Friday Located just off I-55 with easy access to many attractions Free hot breakfast • Clean and fresh Hampton bed® Free WiFi in every room • Fitness room use

Conveniently located off I-55, this Arkansas hotel is just minutes from the industrial park and historic downtown shopping. Enjoy small-town living with the ease of interstate accessibility in Blytheville, only five miles from the majestic Mississippi River.

Hampton Inn Blytheville 301 N. Service Road I-55, Blytheville, Arkansas, 72315 USA TEL: +1-870-763-5220 | FAX: +1-870-762-1397 www.blytheville.hamptoninn.com

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B LY T H E V I L L E • G O S N E L L MANILA • TRUMANN

visit b anks out h e r n.com

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Blytheville AR Map Wrap 2017  
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