Redneck History (Part 1) So you’re trying to visit Nashville without learning a little redneck history? Well, that’ll go over like a pregnant pole vaulter! Fortunately for you, we’ve summarized the most important facts about Music City’s greatest sites. After you’ve learned your history, check out 10 Incredible Things to See and Do in Nashville.
As far as buildings go, the Ryman Auditorium is the Taj Mahal of redneck history. In the 1880s, Thomas G. Ryman was saved by the powerful preaching for Pastor Sam Jones. Ryman made a promise to construct a “great tabernacle” fit for the Reverend to preach salvation to others. In 1892, the Union Gospel Tabernacle was completed. When Ryman died in 1904, however, it was renamed the Ryman Auditorium. During its time, the Ryman was known as the largest structure in all of Nashville. It became a popular place for bands, ballets, symphonies, plays, and other community events. Since then, world-famous performers including Harry Houdini, John Philip Sousa, and Theodore Roosevelt have all graced the “Carnegie Hall of the South.” Find out more about the Ryman Auditorium.
If you like flowers (and who don’t?), then you’ll love the pretty scenery Cheekwood has to offer. In the early 1900s, the Cheek family created a blend of coffee that and marketed it through the Maxwell House, one of the oldest and most famous hotels in Music City. When General Foods bought the coffee company for $40 million, the Cheeks purchased 100 acres of land to develop a country estate. They hired Bryant Fleming, a renowned yankee – er, architect – from New York. In 1932, he completed the Cheekwood mansion. Huldah Cheek and her husband Walter Sharp lived in Cheekwood until 1950, when it was developed into an art museum and botanical garden. Since 1960, it’s become one of the most popular attractions in the region. Find out more about Cheekwood.
Grand Ole Opry
This is one of the most important parts of redneck history. Just five years after radio was invented, the Grand Ole Opry was born. The National Life and Accident Insurance Company built a radio station called WSM, which stood for its motto, “We shield millions.” WSM’s weekly Barn Dance became the most popular program on the station, with crowds flocking to the radio station just to see the performers live. In 1927, the Barn Dance was renamed the Grand Ole Opry. Audiences continued coming so that they could dance during the live radio program. The Grand Ole Opry moved to the Ryman to house the demand, but the crowds were still too big. Finally, they built the Grand Ole Opry House in 1974, creating a heart to the home of country music. Find out more about the Grand Ole Opry. Now that you’ve learned your history, check out 10 Incredible Things to Do and See in Nashville.