The beginning of the what is now Grand Ole Opry began in 1925 at the National Life and Accident Insurance Company, moving from place to place until it found its “permanent” home at the Ryman Auditorium in 1943. Country talent graced the halls of the auditorium from 1943 to 1974 when it moved to its current location called the Grand Ole Oprey.
The Ryman Auditorium has quite a history. Originally built as a church by Thomas Ryman, a wealthy riverboat captain, it was called Union Gospel Tabernacle and later after it use expanded, the name was changed to the Ryman Auditorium. The building was later given a second floor in 1897 and a stage in 1901 where national and international talent performed (John Phillip Sousa’s Peerless Band, The Imperial Russian Ballet, Katherine Hepburn, Bob Hope, Edward Strauss and his Vienna Orchestra, CarusoKatherine Hepburn, Bob Hope). Lectures by leaders of their time gave public lectures (Susan B. Anthony Booker T. Washington, President Theodore Roosevelt, President William Howard Taft, etc.).
Today the Ryman Auditorium has live radio country music performances with audiences four times per week.
Because the Ryman Auditorium had deteriorated a new build was built called the Grand Ole Opry. It opened on March 16, 1974. It continues to host top names in country music and comedy as well as offer new talent while packing in crowds of enthusiasts every week.
We attended the 9:00 pm show and it went until 11:30. The music and comedy were great. Well worth the price of admission, but buy your tickets ahead of time. Depending on the time of the year, it may be hard to get into the show.