Woody Guthrie's Childhood Home to Be Rebuilt
Iconic singer and songwriter Woody Guthrie's childhood home could soon stand again in Okemah. A nonprofit group is asking fans for support in building the structure on the original land-- with the same wood."This is as close to the real thing as it's ever going to get," said Johnny Buschardt with the "This House is Your House" campaign.Buschardt said Guthrie's childhood home became worn down over the years. He said crews tore it down in 1980 but that they saved and stored the original wood in case it could be of significance someday.Decades ago, many Oklahomans did not claim Guthrie as the state's own, given some of his political messages."Woody was pretty much shunned from Oklahoma. Everybody assumed he was a communist, because he had pro-communist leanings," Buschardt said. He said the Woody Guthrie Center in downtown Tulsa has helped the Sooner State memorialize the singer and sway public opinion. Guthrie Green is also named after the singer. He said Okemah has generally been more supportive of Guthrie, given its yearly festivals. Woody Guthrie London House Inc. is the nonprofit group leading the "This House is Your House" campaign, under the guidance of Dan Riedemann with 19th Century Restorations. Buschardt said they are taking the "Woody Guthrie approach," meaning they are not asking one donor to finance the roughly $540,000 project. Rather, he said the organization is asking about 500,000 people to each give a dollar. He said there will also be volunteer opportunities and furnishings fans can help provide.The campaign launches October 1st. Crews hope to break ground October 15th. Buschardt said the builders hope to turn the house over to Okemah's Community Improvement Association before the last day of next year's Guthrie festival.The Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa has no comment regarding the home's rebuild, because it is not directly involved.