Captain Tom Ryman is responsible for the construction of the Union Gospel Tabernacle after hearing the Rev. Samuel P. Jones speak at a tent revival (ryman.com/history). The first service was held May 25, 1890, with only the foundation and six feet of walls, covered by a tent purchased from the Greenville, Mississippi company who owned it. Jones had been holding his meetings under the rented tent until Ryman vowed to build him a tabernacle.
The Indiana Church Finishing Company supplied the pews, and in 1892, the tabernacle was completed. The balcony was added in 1897, and the stage constructed in 1901. When Ryman died in 1904, Rev. Jones asked to rename the site the Ryman Auditorium. Along with many memorable events over the years, The Grand Ole Opry moved to the Ryman in 1943. In 1994, Nashville's "Mother Church of Country Music" re-opened following major renovations as a performance hall and museum.