Rocking (or Jazz-ing) at the Ryman!

Something’s always hbelaflekappening at the Ryman Auditorium!  Here is Doc Dave at the Bela Fleck and Chic Chorea concert on April 17th.  Our children gave us tickets, and we are thankful to them for treating us to a delightful evening.

The Ryman is one of my favorite music venues in Nashville.  Though it was a large auditorium by the standards of its early days, it is not so large that you feel distant from the musicians on stage.

Here are five fast facts about the Ryman:

  1. The Ryman, which opened in 1892, was first known as the Union Gospel Tabernacle.  It was not until the death of the auditorium’s creator, Thomas Ryman, that it began to be known by his name.
  2.  Hugh Cathcart Thompson was the architect.  He designed it in the Victorian Gothic Style, which was popular at the time.  Thompson designed fifty-six buildings in Nashville.  The Ryman is one of nine that are still standing.
  3. Ryman built the auditorium in honor of Samuel Porter Jones, a firey Methodist revivalist from Georgia.  Formerly an alchoholic, Jones was famed for preaching, “Quit Your Meanness”.  He converted Ryman, who was a prominent citizen in Nashville, as well as a riverboat captain.
  4. The Ryman was primarily a place of worship in the beginning, but it was rented out to various civic and other groups in order to pay off construction debts.  In 1904, Lula C. Naff, a widowed mother and stenographer, began to book speakers, concerts, and boxing matches at the Ryman.  By 1920, she had transitioned into being its fulltime manager.
  5. The Ryman is most famous for having been the home of the Grand Old Opry for decades.  It is also the place where Earl Scruggs and Bill Monroe first stepped on stage together, an event that birthed the bluegrass genre.


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