Cash Land And Surrounding Area Unlucky For Houses

This appeared in The Tennessean - April 19, 2007

Three of the four houses on or near Johnny and June Carter Cash's former property in Hendersonville have been destroyed by fire or storm.

Last week's fire of the former Cash house, which is now owned by Barry Gibb, was not the first; Roy Orbison's house next door burned in 1968 while he was on tour, killing two of his three sons. Johnny bought that property and turned it into an orchard in honor of Roy, who died in 1988.

A few years later, Roy purchased a house under construction on the neighboring lot. That house had been started by Harlan Howard, and his wife, Jan, but it wasn't finished because they divorced, says Braxton Dixon, who built all of the houses there.

Roy never finished construction nor lived in the retreat. A Michigan man bought it and later sold it to Marty Stuart. "After John died, me and Connie (Smith) bought the orchard and left it as a sanctuary," Marty says. "As long as we live there, it will not be built on."

Braxton began building a 108-foot house where Johnny's tennis court is now. "John said, 'Well, if you don't move in it, June and I will buy it. Then he brought Bob (Dylan) up and he said he would buy it." (Roger Miller was also interested in it.) Before it was completed, a tornado blew it into the lake. "None of us got it," Braxton says.

Marty says he's not nervous about living in such an unlucky area. "The first thing we did was have several prayer meetings — the American Indians, the Baptists, the Pentecostals and a few from parts unknown. A lot of praying and singing went into our land. When we first moved in, nothing would grow in that orchard. After those prayer meetings, it bore fruit abundantly."

Of Barry Gibb's plans to build a new house near the original foundation of Johnny's home, Rosanne Cash says, "It's a great idea." (By the way, Elvis considered buying the house before Johnny, but he felt the lake provided too much access to him for fans.)

By Beverly Keel

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