The following is an extract from the site detailing some history and significance to bluegrass:-
Originally built as the Union Gospel Tabernacle in 1892 by Captain Tom G. Ryman, this National Historic Landmark and Mother Church of Country Music is a Nashville icon. Most famous as the former home of the Grand Ole Opry.
If the hallowed walls of the Ryman Auditorium could talk, the remarkable story they would tell is unmatched in entertainment history. Its construction is a tale of divine inspiration. In the 1880s, when prominent businessman and steamboat captain Thomas G. Ryman found salvation in the words of fiery evangelist Reverend Sam Jones, he vowed to build a great tabernacle that would project Rev. Jones’s voice clearly and powerfully for all to hear.
Especially important to the history of the Ryman is its significant role in the history of bluegrass music. Although Bill Monroe had been a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1939, it wasn’t until a Saturday night in December of 1945 when bluegrass music as we know it today was born when a twenty-one year old young man by the name of Earl Scruggs stepped up to the WSM microphone on the Ryman stage playing the five-string banjo with a three-finger roll. This was the final ingredient in what we now know as bluegrass music.