We had planned to hit the Civil War trail over the weekend, but we got a phone call from some dear Arizona friends traveling through Nashville so we headed north to meet them. Before they arrived we had some time to do a little sightseeing.
Our first stop was Ryman Auditorium, a national historic landmark and former home of The Grand Ole Opry. The history of the Ryman dates back to the 1880's when Thomas G. Ryman, a riverboat captain, attended a revival by traveling evangelist Sam Jones.
Captain Ryman 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 was renamed Ryman Auditorium upon Captain Ryman's death in 1904.
In the early years many a famous evangelist preached from the stage.
Crowds poured through these doors for a wide variety of events: religious revivals, jazz recitals, operas, ballets, political debates, and even boxing matches.
In 1943 a contract was signed to rent Ryman out on Saturday nights for a popular live radio show - The Grand Ole Opry.
Today, visitors enter at the back of the auditorium where they are greeted by bronze statues of Roy Acuff and Minnie Pearl.
During the Grand Ole Opry's residence from 1943 to 1974 the Ryman rarely had an empty seat for the Saturday night Opry.
Today, people line up to have their picture taken on the stage where so many famous people have walked. (More on that later!)
One of the most famous, in those days, was Minnie Pearl.
I remember watching a wildly dressed Porter Wagner and a young Dolly Parton perform too. Many of the Opry performers have their outfits on display.
The man in black, Johnny Cash, and his talented wife, June Carter Cash, are well represented.
The building gained nationwide recognition as the "Mother Church of Country Music."
These are the original pews salvaged during the 1993-1994 restoration.
Naturally, Hubby and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to have our picture taken on such a famous stage!