The Little-Known Story Of Nashville’s Original Grand Ole Opry House . . .

The building that helped Nashville become known as Music City was originally built in 1892 as a place for spiritual awakening — an interdenominational revival house.  The auditorium that spread Country Music around the world, was originally intended to spread the Good News that Jesus Christ is alive, present, and active in our world.  Here’s the little-known history of the Ryman Auditorium.

Thomas Ryman was a Nashville businessman who in 1885 owned a fleet of 35 riverboats and numerous saloons. That year, revivalist Sam Jones, a former alcoholic, was holding tent meetings in Nashville.  Because of Jones’ preaching  people were encountering Jesus Christ and turning away from alcohol and gambling, two things that Ryman had built his business on.

On May 10, 1885, Ryman went to one of Sam Jones’ tent revivals and found Jesus Christ that night.  His life was changed forever.  It is said that Ryman immediately ended his gambling business and threw all the alcohol off of his riverboats.

Ryman was so grateful that he decided to build a building big enough to seat everyone who wanted to hear Sam Jones and others share the Gospel so that they wouldn’t have to meet in tents.  Ryman’s desire was to help others to “turn away from their wicked ways and save their souls from damnation.”  He wanted to see spiritual awakening spread in Nashville.

The building took seven years and about $100,000 to build.  It was finished in 1892 and named the Union Gospel Tabernacle.  After Thomas Ryman’s death, it was renamed in his honor.

Sometimes I walk around the Ryman and pray that God will fulfill the original purpose of the building by releasing a mighty move of the Spirit in Nashville.  I pray that as Country Music spread around the world by taking over the Union Gospel Tabernacle building, so God will release His power and Presence in Nashville and spread it around the world!

If this is also your vision, come seek God with us at The Salvation Army Berry Street Worship Center, 225 Berry St., Nashville, 37207; Sunday mornings @ 10:45 & Thursday nights @ 6:30.

Read more in my book: Beyond Church — An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible,  available at Amazon.


About Steve Simms

I like to look and think outside the box. In college I encountered Jesus Christ and I have been passionate about trying to get to know Him better ever since. My wife and I co-lead a non-traditional expression of the body of Christ in Nashville based on open participation and Spirit-led sharing. We long to see the power and passion of the first Christ-followers come to life in our time. I have written a book about our experiences called, "Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible--Ekklesia" that is available in Kindle & paperback @
This entry was posted in Berry Street, Berry Street Worship Center, church, country music, Grand Ole Opry House, history, Jesus, Jesus Christ, Music City, Nashville, non-traditional church, organic church, outreach ministry, participatory church, presence of Christ, religion, Ryman Auditorium, Sam Jones, testimonies, The Salvation Army, Thomas Ryman, Uncategorized, Union Gospel Tabernacle and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The Little-Known Story Of Nashville’s Original Grand Ole Opry House . . .

  1. Negative Nellie says:

    This is not an unknown story. And the Ryman was not the “Original” Grand Ole Opry House.

  2. I join you in your prayers for Nashville. Thanks so much for sharing.

  3. Pingback: Should church services consist of humanly planned and directed programs or be supernaturally led by the Holy Spirit? | Free Gas For Your Think Tank (Steve Simms Blogs From Nashville)

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