The Mother Church of Country Music
Established in 1892 as the Union Gospel Tabernacle, Ryman Auditorium is a National Historic Landmark and must see for any Nashville visitor. Most famous as the home of the Grand Ole Opry from 1943 — 1974, there is far more to the story of Music City’s most recognizable icon. Take a Self-Guided or Guided Backstage tour and discover what makes the Ryman, the “Soul of Nashville.”
If the hallowed walls of the Ryman Auditorium could talk, the remarkable story they would tell is unmatched in entertainment history. Its construction is a tale of divine inspiration. In the 1880s, when prominent businessman and steamboat captain Thomas G. Ryman found salvation in the words of fiery evangelist Reverend Sam Jones, he vowed to build a great tabernacle that would project Rev. Jones’s voice clearly and powerfully for all to hear. Designed by architect Hugh Cathcart Thompson in the Late Victorian Gothic Revival style popular at the time, Tom Ryman’s vision became a reality with the completion of the Union Gospel Tabernacle in 1892. After his death in 1904, the Union Gospel Tabernacle would henceforth be known as the Ryman Auditorium in honor of the man who built the Nashville landmark.