In 1885, a heckler came to Sam Jones‘ meetings. Thomas Ryman (1843-1904) was 42, a Nashville steamboat line owner. He had just moved into a new house, and thought little of this Christian evangelist. But the preaching turned his life around, and he talked to Jones about building a tabernacle for the revival. Seven years and $100,000 later (almost $3,000,000 today), the Union Gospel Tabernacle opened in Nashville on May 25, 1890. After Ryman’s death in 1904, and his funeral in the Tabernacle, the building was renamed the Ryman Auditorium. Featuring Presidents Roosevelt and Taft, and entertainers Will Rogers and John Philip Sousa, it became a cultural center. In 1943, the Grand Ole Opry moved to the Ryman Auditorium.
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