NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Ryman Auditorium and Music City are practically synonymous. The legendary music venue has a rich history steeped in Nashville’s roots, that dates back more than 100 years.
May 4, 1892, the first concert was held at the Ryman featuring the Theodore Thomas Orchestra. According to the Tennessee State Library and Archives, the Ladies Hermitage Association put on the concert as a benefit to acquire and save the relics in President Andrew Jackson’s home.
The Ryman was built by businessman Thomas Ryan for revivalist Samuel Porter Jones in 1891. It was originally named the Union Gospel Tabernacle.
Jones, an evangelist of that era, led a series of revivals at the Ryman that drew enormous crowds. While it was initially meant to be a home for religious and education purposes, it quickly turned into a hotbed for music.
The Ryman went through a major evolution in 1942, when it started hosting the Grand Ole Opry. While the Opry now has its own home, it still returns to “The Mother Church of Country Music” on occasion.
130 years later, audiences continue to fill the pews as a steady stream of musicians and performers cycle in and out of the Ryman.
The Ryman Auditorium is celebrating 130 years all year long. Click here for more information.