Legend has it Captain Ryman planned to heckle the preacher but instead was converted on the spot and decided to raise money for a permanent place for Jones to preach.
Seven years and $100,000 later, in 1892, the Union Gospel Tabernacle was completed. It would be renamed Ryman Auditorium upon Captain Ryman's death in 1904.
From 1904 until the Grand Ole Opry came in 1943, the Ryman served as the venue for a wide variety of events: religious revivals, jazz recitals, operas, ballets, political debates and even boxing matches.
Under the management of Lula C. Naff, one of the few businesswomen of her era, the Ryman became known as the Carnegie Hall of the South. In 1943, Mrs Naff signed a contract to rent the Ryman out on Saturday nights for a popular live radio show, and changed the course of history for the Ryman and for country music.
|Minnie Pearl and her famous hat with the $1.98 price tag. |
The tag was left on as a mistake, but was so popular she kept it as part of her act.
This is the pantsuit worn by Patsy Cline that caused a ruckus as the Opry management preferred that female cast members present themselves as demure and ladylike, preferably in full, square dance style dresses. She was asked not to wear the outfit on the show again.
After the Grand Ole Opry House was built the Ryman sat empty for years until it was renovated and reopened in 1994. In 2001 it was named a National Historic Landmark.
Long Live the Queen of the Ryman