CAPTAIN TOM RYMAN STATUE RETURNS TO THE RYMAN PLAZA JUST DAYS BEFORE GRAND REOPENING
WHAT: Return of Captain Thomas G. Ryman statue to Ryman plaza. Statue was removed during $14M improvement project that includes a new state-of-the-art daytime tour atrraction, Cafe Lula, enhanced food and beverage services throughout the building, a new box office with interior and exterior windows, additional bathrooms, larger lobbies and an expanded retail area.
WHEN: Wednesday, June 3 - 9:00 a.m.
WHERE: Ryman Auditorium Plaza - 116 Fifth Avenue N, Nashville, TN
ABOUT TOM RYMAN
Thomas Green Ryman was born in Nashville in 1841. His family relocated to Chattanooga when Ryman was still a young boy. It was there he learned the ways of river life by fishing alongside his father in the Tennessee River. In 1860, when he was 19, Ryman’s family returned to Nashville and his father passed away shortly thereafter. Using the skills he learned as a boy, Ryman earned money to support his mother and four siblings by fishing throughout the Civil War years.
Although he had little formal education, he was a shrewd and industrious businessman who amassed a fleet of riverboats and successful shipping company by 1885, the year in which his life would change forever.
That May, he experienced a religious conversion while attending a tent revival conducted by fiery Georgia evangelist, Reverend Sam Jones. Roused into action by the Holy Spirit, Ryman vowed to construct a building large enough to hold all who wanted to hear Sam Jones and others preach. He wanted to ensure that the citizens of Nashville would never have to attend a revival under a tent again. Accomplishing his vision would become Ryman’s life’s work.
The Union Gospel Tabernacle took four years and approximately $100,000 to complete. On June 1, 1892 Rev. Jones preached in the newly completed building he inspired. He declared, “I believe for every dollar spent in this Tabernacle, there’ll be $10 less spent in the future on court trials. This Tabernacle is the best investment the city of Nashville ever made.”
It was at Ryman's funeral on Christmas Day 1904 that Rev. Jones proposed to 5000 mourners that the building be renamed Ryman Auditorium in his honor. The idea was immediately embraced by everyone in attendance. From that day forward, the Union Gospel Tabernacle became known as Ryman Auditorium.
Ryman’s good works live on today in the precious gift he left his hometown—a beloved venue that has served the citizens of Nashville for nearly 125 years.