One of the most famous homes in country music — or any musical genre, given the reach of Johnny Cash’s career — was the home of Cash and his wife, June Carter Cash.
The property at 200 Claudill Drive in Hendersonville, TN — which figured in the award-winning Cash bio-pic, “Walk The Line” — was the Cash family’s home for nearly all of their 35-year marriage. It was at this lake house where the Cash family lived in the massive, 13,880-square-foot home that ran along on Old Hickory Lake.
Set on a solid rock foundation, the house was sprawling and the property contained an outdoor swimming pool, bell garden, four large, 35-foot round rooms, 7 bedrooms, and 5 full baths.
It was more than a house — it was the spiritual home of Cash and the artistic and cultural universe he created. He wrote most of his songs there. And it drew the likes of Bob Dylan, evangelist Billy Graham, Carl Perkins, Brooks & Dunn and other high priests and priestesses of the music industry and entertainment and political worlds. Best of all, it was a place where musicians would convene with the welcoming Carter/Cash clan.
Around the corner, through a hallway and down some more stairs is the lakeside room where Johnny hosted his legendary “guitar pulls” in the late ’60s and early ’70s. The events were informal, star-studded jams at which, as Johnny writes in his ’97 autobiography, “Kris Kristofferson sang ‘Me and Bobby McGee’ for the first time … and Joni Mitchell ‘Both Sides Now.’ Graham Nash sang ‘Marrakesh Express’ and Shel Silverstein ‘A Boy Named Sue.’ Bob Dylan let us hear ‘Lay Lady Lay,” wrote Brett Anderson in vivid description of Cash, Carter and the lake house in a 1999 edition of Salon.
The lake house was also later memorialized in a song by Rosanne Cash, who wrote “House On The Lake” after her father and June Carter Cash both passed away in 2003.
After Johnny and June both died six months apart, the house was sold by the Cash’s son, John Carter Cash, to singer Barry Gibbs and his wife. The Bee Gee legend was eager to renovate the home with a plan to pay homage to Cash and his legend by taking up the residence.
That never happened. With a bevy of contractors eager to meet the Gibbs’ July 4 deadline, the home caught fire and burned to the ground in 2007 during the remodel. Talk about a “Ring Of Fire:” The aerial view of the property shows the empty foundation where the famous house once stood.
The event seemed almost mystical, rather than just the result of an accident during the remodel. None less than members of the Oak Ridge Boys remarked that perhaps, after all, no one except Johnny and June Carter Cash were meant to live at the lake house.
What is less known, however, is that Cash wound up living in the house he owned across the street at 185 Claudill Drive. The ranch home was built by the same architect, Braxton Dixon, and Cash had used it to house his own parents prior to their passing.
“He spent his last days there after it was harder for him to get around in a wheelchair in lake house,” said Stan Peacock, whose father-in-law — a former Grand Ole Opry musician — bought the house from the Cash family in 2004.
The ranch house, which was always referred to as “Mama Cash’s house” because it was where Cash’s mother lived, has been listed for sale on and off since 2009. It was last listed for $595,000 and while it is not officially on the market right now, Peacock with Crye-Leike Realtors in Hendersonville said interested buyers could reach out to him.
In addition to being the place where Cash last stayed, the house at 185 Claudill Drive once housed some very unique Cash mementos, including the Gold Record for Cash’s major hit: “I Walk The Line.”
Peacock said that tour buses that come out from Nashville to see where Cash’s lake house used to be now drops visitors off who also want to photograph the remaining ranch house.
“Sometimes people come up and talk. These people want to visit for awhile and talk about Johnny and June and the owners try and accommodate them when they’re feeling up to it,” Peacock said.
The ranch house is sprawling, Peacock said, with 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, vaulted ceilings, stone fencing and 200 feet of road frontage.
“This is the home where (the Cash family) brought in guests or dignitaries and they stayed here,” he said.
As for the lake house property: Peacock said there are no plans for rebuilding.
“The Gibbs are still the owners but it’s like me and you owning an extra lawnmower. For them it’s no big deal. They can let it sit there from now until forever. They wanted to live there for the spiritual connection to Johnny, but that was lost. We stood there and watched the place burn down to the ground.”