The Ryman Auditorium (formerly Grand Ole Opry House and Union Gospel Tabernacle) is a 2,362-seat live performance venue, located at 116 5th Avenue North, in Nashville, Tennessee and is best known as the most famous former home of the Grand Ole Opry. It is owned and operated by Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc.
The auditorium first opened as the Union Gospel Tabernacle in 1892. It was built by Thomas Ryman (1843–1904), a riverboat captain and Nashville businessman who owned several saloons. Ryman conceived of the auditorium as a tabernacle for the influential revivalist Samuel Porter Jones. After Ryman's death, the Tabernacle was renamed Ryman Auditorium in his honor. Architect Hugh Cathcart Thompson designed the structure.
It was used for Grand Ole Opry broadcasts from 1943 until 1974, when the Opry built a larger venue just outside Nashville at the Opryland USA theme park. (In an effort to maintain continuity with the Opry's storied past, a large circle was cut from the floor of the Ryman stage and inlaid into the center of the new Opry stage.) The Ryman then sat mostly vacant and fell into disrepair until 1992 when Emmylou Harris and her band, the Nash Ramblers, performed a series of concerts there (the results of which appeared on her album At the Ryman).