A resolution recognizing the Ryman Auditorium - “The Mother Church of Country Music” - and its 125 years in Nashville as Music City’s most famous and respected music venue attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors to Nashville each year.

WHEREAS, on May 10, 1885, Captain Thomas G. Ryman attended the Sam Jones tent revival held in Nashville and, after being converted that day, he promised Rev. Jones he would build a tabernacle for him and others which could hold thousands indoors; and

WHEREAS, in 1892, Tom Ryman opened the Union Gospel Tabernacle on 5th Avenue a massive brick building which was the largest auditorium south of the Ohio River and was open to all religions and all people to hear the top ministers and speakers of the day; and

WHEREAS, during Captain Ryman’s funeral on Christmas Day 1904, Rev. Sam Jones at the end of his eulogy asked four thousand people in attendance who wished the name of the tabernacle be changed to the Ryman Auditorium to stand. Everyone rose from the wooden pews and the building has been known as the Ryman Auditorium ever since; and

WHEREAS, since the 19th century, the Ryman has been known for its extraordinary acoustics which famous musicians and fans still marvel at today; and

WHEREAS, in 1904, Lula Naff moved to Nashville to begin her work at the Ryman which spanned over 50 years until her retirement as General Manager in 1955; and

WHEREAS, Lula Naff booked some of the most famous speakers and acts of the day at the Ryman, including President Teddy Roosevelt, President William H. Taft, Caruso, John McCormack, Bob Hope, Nat King Cole, Houdini, Will Rogers, Bessie Smith, Helen Keller, and hundreds of others famous acts and performances; and

WHEREAS, on June 5, 1943 the world’s oldest and most famous radio show the Grand Ole Opry began a 31 year run at the Ryman where country music fans from all over the world saw Opry members Hank Williams, Roy Acuff, Minnie Pearl, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, George Jones, Charlie Pride, Little Jimmy Dickens, Loretta Lynn and many others on the Ryman stage; and

WHEREAS, when the Opry moved to its new home in 1974, the Ryman was at risk of being torn down by its previous owner, but musicians, politicians, and preservation-minded Nashvillians all spoke out to save the historic building; and

WHEREAS, from 1974 to 1994, the Ryman sat empty, except for daily tours and a few tapings; and

WHEREAS, the Ryman has been used for taping many popular television shows and movies, including “The Johnny Cash Show”, “Coal Miner’s Daughter”, “American Idol”, and the CMT show “Nashville”; and

WHEREAS, in 1994, the Ryman received its first major restoration of 8 million dollars, including adding air-condition, restoring the building, creating a new backstage area and dressing rooms and a large addition to create a new lobby with restrooms, offices and a retail shop. That year, the Ryman re-opened as a music venue; and

WHEREAS, Ryman Hospitality Properties Chairman and CEO Colin Reed announced on the Ryman stage in 2014 that, due to the popularity of the venue and downtown Nashville, the Ryman would receive a $14 million dollar renovation. Reed said the 1994 lobby and retail area would be remodeled and expanded to improve the visitor’s experience with a new restaurant added named after Lula Naff, a room which seats 100 to show a new Ryman history video called “The Soul of Nashville”, and that concession areas, bathrooms and retail shop would improve and be expanded; and

WHEREAS, the Ryman Auditorium has been named “Theater of the Year” eight times by Pollstar.


Section 1. The Metropolitan Council hereby goes on record as recognizing The Ryman Auditorium, “The Mother Church of Country Music,” and its 125 years in Nashville as Music City’s most famous and respected music venue.

Section 2. The Metropolitan Council Office is directed to prepare a copy of this Resolution to be presented to Sally Williams, General Manager of the Ryman Auditorium and the Grand Ole Opry.

Section 3. This Resolution shall take effect from and after its adoption, the welfare of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County requiring it.

Sponsored by: Freddie O'Connell, Mina Johnson, Burkley Allen, Karen Johnson


Referred to: Rules, Confirmations, and Public Elections Committee
Introduced: December 19, 2017
Adopted: December 19, 2017
Returned unsigned by the Mayor: January 3, 2018
Effective Date : January 3, 2018

Requests for ADA accommodation should be directed to the Metropolitan Clerk at 615/862-6770.