After breakfast at Cracker Barrel, we decided to head over to the Opry Land Mall in Nashville. The Grand Ole Opry House is located there along with the Grand Ole Opry Museum and it had been a couple of years since we visited the museum. The last time we went for a visit it was closed for renovations so we figured that we were due for a visit especially being that the museum was free. Note the word “was”; it is no longer free but still well worth the $5.00 per person charge.
The museum is much smaller than the Country Music Hall of Fame but it is a whole lot more personal. However, it is dedicated to the earlier “stars” of the Opry. People like Minnie Pearl, Roy Acuff, Marty Robbins, Patsy Cline, etc. have individual displays. The renovation eliminated one of our favorite displays which was a replica of a recording studio and replaced it with a hall recognizing the latest artists. The tour finishes with a stop in the gift shop where I picked up a book of Minnie Pearls jokes; some fodder for the four o’clock social time at Rainbow Plantation next fall.
The Grand Ole Opry began at the turn of the twentieth century when bluegrass musicians were looking for a venue to perform. The National Life and Accident Insurance Company looking for an advertising tool began sponsoring the “Opry”. In 1925 WSM (We Shield Millions) began broadcasting the WSM Barndance from the office building of National Life. In 1927 the name was changed to the Grand Ole Opry when George Hay made this statement following the shows opening performance by DeFord Bailey; "For the past hour, we have been listening to music taken largely from the Grand Opera, but from now on we will present the Grand Ole Opry".
The Opry performed at several venues over the years and in 1943 they acquired the Union Tabernacle naming it the Ryman Auditorium where they performed for the next 30 years. In 1969 work began on a theme park east of Nashville which included a hotel and a new location for the Grand Ole Opry. In the spring of 1974 the Opry moved into their new home which was named the Grand Ole Opry House. The amusement park has since been replaced by a shopping mall but, the Grand Ole Opry Hotel and the Grand Ole Opry House are still going strong under the direction of Gaylord Entertainment.
The old Ryman Theater, which is in downtown Nashville, is now a museum, however, the Opry does perform from there during the winter months when the Opry House hosts their annual Christmas show with the Rockettes.
For more on our visits to the Nashville area see our December 2006, our October 2008, and our November 2008 travelogues on www.WanderingAmerica.com.
To scratch the Mall itch, we took a walk around the Grand Ole Orpy Mall. This is probably one of our favorite malls. We made a stop at the Gibson Guitar factory which is located right in the mall. We had hope to see some guitars in production but, unfortunately, it just wasn’t happening – maybe they’re closed on Fridays, we don’t know because we didn’t ask. Anyway, while we were there we spent some time strumming a few guitars before leaving to finish our walk (I wish I had talent). Can you imagine, we almost escaped the mall without breaking out the old wallet. Judy did pick up a book by one of her favorite Christian fiction authors.
Once we returned home, we sat outside enjoying the great weather and doing a little reading. Alex joined us for a little while until he got too hot and wanted back under the air conditioner. The rest of the day was spent in our normal routine – recliners, computers, television, and beddy bye. Until tomorrow . . . . .