The Grand Ole Opry House is not the Opry's first (or even second or third, fourth, or fifth) home. The Opry began in 1925 in the WSM radio studios in downtown Nashville.
It moved to the Hillsboro Theater, near Vanderbilt University in 1934. From there it moved to the Dixie Tabernacle in East Nashville in 1936, and then back downtown to the plush War Memorial Auditorium in 1939. The show moved to the Ryman Auditorium in 1943, and moved to the current home in 1974. In 2005, the Opry House passed the Ryman as the longest running home of the Grand Ole Opry. Since 1999, the Opry has returned to the Ryman during the winter for a series of performances there.
Home to More than Just the Opry
In addition to hosting more than 150 Opry performances each year, the Opry House has welcomed countless other events and shows over the years, among them:
- Weddings (Connie Smith sang for more than 50 couples who were married on stage in 2000.)
- Funerals (Porter Wagoner, Grandpa Jones, among others)
- Concerts, among them Willie Nelson, Smashing Pumpkins, Bonnie Raitt
- TV tapings, including "Wheel Of Fortune" and numerous award shows
- Even a live cattle auction
- Alan Jackson once delivered mail to the "Opry Post Office," where he now has his own mailbox.
- Little Jimmy Dickens' mailbox is the only Opry member's box not in alphabetical order, such that his box is easily within reach for the 4'11" star. Speaking of the Post Office, among the past Opry members who've had their own U.S. postage stamps are Roy Acuff, Patsy Cline, and the Carter Family.
- The list of artists who've taped TV specials in Studio A, the working TV studio located within the Opry House, is vast and varied. Among them: Kenny Chesney, Elton John, Uncle Kracker, Loretta Lynn, James Taylor, and ZZ Top.
- When the Opry moved from the Ryman Auditorium in 1974, the show took part of the Ryman with it. A round circle of wood from the Ryman sits center stage at the Opry House. Now, recent Opry additions such as Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts and Blake Shelton can still perform on the same stage as legends such as Patsy Cline, Hank Williams, and countless others.
SEE IT FOR YOURSELF: There are three Grand Ole Opry House backstage tour options for you to see all of this, and much more! Check out the Backstage Pass Daytime tour, the Post-Show tour option, and the brand-new Behind The Opry Curtain VIP tour.