The Ryman, Nashville, Tennessee

Day 222


HOW DEE      

     Samuel Porter Jones, born October 16, 1847 in Oak Bowery, Alabama, was an American lawyer and businessman. Although he was known as a brilliant lawyer, he was also an alcoholic. One day he found the light, quit drinking and became ordained as a Methodist preacher, like his grandfather, great-grandfather and four of his uncles. Subsequently he  became a prominent Methodist revivalist preacher across the Southern United States. In his sermons, he preached that alcohol and idleness were sinful.  

     Thomas Green Ryman was born October 12, 1841 in Nashville, Tennessee. He learned the trade of his father, a fisherman. After the Civil War he prospered in Nashville with a fleet of riverboats and saloons. He was a wealthy and respected leader in Nashville. He had heard of Samuel Jones and went with some of his friends in 1885 to the tent revival with intent to heckle Jones. Instead Ryman was so impressed with Jones that he was converted on the spot. Soon after, he pledged to build a tabernacle so the people of Nashville could attend the large-scale revival indoors. Construction of the Union Gospel Tabernacle began in 1889 and opened in 1892. Though the building was designed to be a house of worship, a purpose it continued to serve throughout most of its early existence, it was often leased to promoters for non-religious events in an effort to pay off its debts and remain open.

    Upon his death on December 23, 1904, the Union Gospel Tabernacle was renamed The Ryman Auditorium.

     We toured The Ryman. The venue is very popular because of the church’s acoustics.


     The church has 250 pews, which seats 2362.


     These are the original oak pews  from 1892. Not that comfortable to sit on for a 2 hour show. 


Nashville, Tennessee

Day 220

     The Overmountain Men were American frontiersmen from west of the Appalachian Mountains who took part in the American Revolutionary War. While they were present at multiple engagements in the war’s southern campaign, they are best known for their role in the American victory at the Battle of Kings Mountain on October 7, 1780. The term “overmountain” refers to the fact that their settlements were west of, or “over”, the Appalachians — the range being the primary geographical boundary dividing the 13 American colonies from the western frontier. The Overmountain Men hailed from parts of Virginia, North Carolina, and what is now Tennessee and Kentucky.

     The town of Nashville was founded by James Robertson, John Donelson, and a party of Overmountain Men in 1779, near the original Cumberland settlement of Fort Nashborough. It was named for Francis Nash, the American Revolutionary War hero. Nashville quickly grew as a port because of its strategic location on the Cumberland River, a tributary of the Ohio River. Today it is the capital of the state of Tennessee. Tennessee became a State June 1, 1796.

     Because of the Grand Ole Opry and the Ryman Auditorium, Nashville has become the destination for those aspiring to make their name in music, especially Country.

     Every bar, every restaurant, every street corner was filled with musicians seeking attention.

   Here Barbara is watching a magician


 Moving bars are traveling down the street (we have seen this in other cities)


     Tidbit of Information: Tennessee is known as the “Volunteer State”, a nickname earned during the War of 1812 because of the prominent role played by volunteer soldiers from Tennessee, especially during the Battle of New Orleans.


Hermitage, Tennessee

Day 219


     Andrew Jackson was born on March 15, 1767 in the Waxhaws, an area on the boarder of North and South Carolina. By age 20 he had his license to practice law in North Carolina.

     In 1788 he marries Rachel Donelson Robarts. He remarries her in 1794. She had been married before to an abusive husband. She had left him, then met Jackson. In 1788 she had gotten word her husband divorced her, but in fact had only filed the papers. When the divorce finally went through, they remarried to make it lawful.

     In 1804 he buys a 420 acre plantation and names it Hermitage

     On June 18, 1812 President Madison declares war on Great Britain. Andrew Jackson had been active in Tennessee politics and had held numerous  positions. Without formal military training he was appointed a position in the Army. Ultimately he was assigned to go to New Orleans to repel the anticipated invasion of the British. If the British were successful, they could sail up the Mississippi and divide the Country in half, which would invariably change the outcome of the war. There was not much hope that Jackson could stop the British with only 5359 local militia against the British well trained 8392 seasoned troops.

     The battle began on January 8, 1815. Jackson won a decisive victory, losing only 13 killed and 39 wounded to the British’s 300 killed and 1500 wounded. (Do you think those figures were inflated like Vietnam?)

     Although it took almost a month for the news to reach Washington, Jackson became an instant American Hero and made him the most famous general since George Washington.

     Based on his popularity Jackson ran for President. His first try for President resulted in Jackson getting the popular vote, but losing the electoral.  The campaigns were brutal. No subject was off limits. Jackson’s opponents used every dirty trick they could, including calling Jackson immoral for the marriage to Rachel. Reviewing what went on during these campaigns, you can’t help but notice the similarities to the recent Trump campaign. This includes one of his first acts as President was signing the Indian Removal Act, which he promised to do during his campaign. He is quoted as saying “…they and my white children are to near to each other to live in harmony and peace.” History repeats itself.

     Jackson believed that since the President is elected by all the people, he is the only member of  government representing all the people. Almost immediately there was friction between Jackson, Congress, and the Courts. During his two terms as President, he asserted powers that no President had before. With dissension among members of his cabinet, Jackson started looking outside for guidance, something no President had done before. The opposition press dubbed these advisors his “kitchen cabinet”.

     Andrew Jackson left Washington, after two terms as President, for home on March 7, 1837.


     Andrew and Rachel Jackson’s first home on the Hermitage was a substantial and well furnished 2 story log cabin. They lived there from 1804 until 1821. As a result of Jackson’s fame from the 1815 battle, the home no longer reflected his status as a hero, or the fashion of the time. He build a federal style brick home, which he enlarged over time during his Presidency

The tour of the Hermitage was both guided and self guided.


     Cotton was the cash crop of the Plantation. When Jackson returned here after his Presidency, he had 1000 acres and 150 slaves.

     One of the interesting things was that you could go to the cotton fields and pick cotton. Trying to get the seeds out of the cotton was almost impossible by hand. Thank you Eli Whitney.


Jackson died on June 8, 1845 at the Hermitage.

     Two interesting facts about Jackson: He is the only President to pay off the national debt and the first President to be a resident of a State other than Massachusetts or Virginia.



Nashville Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Tennessee

Day 218


     The Nashville Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is a 5 floor collection of everything dealing with Country Music. I am not a fan of Country Music, but after spending 5 hours here, I have a new appreciation. 


The admission fee included a hand held electronic guided tour. 


I liked the guitar for a 4 arm person:


     We were there from 12 noon till 5:00 PM when they told us we had to leave. Still, we were not able to see everything.


Grand Ole Opry, Nashville, Tennessee

Day 217


     The Grand Ole Opry started as the WSM radio show Barn Dance on the fifth-floor radio studio of the National Life & Accident Insurance Company in downtown Nashville on November 28, 1925. The studio was created to advertise and promote their insurance. The stations’ call letters are derived from the company’s motto, “We Shield Millions“. The Opry, founded by George D. Hay, was dedicated to honoring hillbilly music and its history. The Opry showcases a mix of singers performing country, bluegrass, folk, gospel, and comedic performances and skits.Though not originally a stage show, the Opry began to attract listeners from around the area who would come to the WSM studio to see it live. Because of its popularity and lack of space in the radio studio, the Opry moved to a permanent home, the Ryman Auditorium, on June 5, 1943, and broadcasted there every week for nearly 31 years thereafter.

Upon our arrival we purchased tickets to the Grand Ole Opry.

Our seats were not that great. 


As, from the beginning, there were various singers: 


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      While we were here we purchased tickets for Straight No Chasers later this week also at The Ryman.

Technical Stuff:

West Memphis, AR to Goodlettsville, TN    237.7 miles

4 hours 29 minutes

12.1 MPG

Diesel: $ 2.19

Beale Street, Memphis, Tennessee

Day 216


     Beale Street was created in 1841 by entrepreneur and developer Robertson Topp, who named it for some military hero. In the 1860s, many black traveling musicians began performing on Beale. It was soon, and today is, a Mecca of aspiring blues players. Strolling down the street, you can hear music emanating from the various restaurants and bars. 

     The shops on Beale street sprang up in the 1890 – 1900 with waves of immigrants, Italians, Jews, Greeks, and Chinese coming here to seek their fortunes. By 1910, they were catering mostly to a black clientele. 


     We stopped at Silky O’Sullivan’s for lunch. Two musicians were playing at the restaurant. On the patio were the bar’s goats,


and cement walk with hand prints and signatures of various personalties. 

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     Not far off the street was the Memphis Rock N Soul museum, which covered the early years of blues in Memphis, from gospel to blues morphing into Rock & Roll and hillbilly music (now called country music).

     Here I am with my homeboys:


     WIDA radio station was a white owned station that catered to the black community of Memphis. Its black announcer, Nat D. Williams, was a history teacher at the high school. He hosted and announced amateur nights on Beale Street.

     Tidbit of information: In 1952, Sam Phillips, started a hotel he called Holiday Inn in Memphis.  

Here, this Buds for you: