Two Figures From Nashville History Get Their Names On The Walk Of Fame | Nashville Public Radio

Two Figures From Nashville History Get Their Names On The Walk Of Fame

Sep 14, 2017

Country quartet Little Big Town was inducted into Nashville’s Walk of Fame on Thursday alongside a pair of slightly more obscure inductees.

Thomas Ryman and Lula Naff were also awarded stars on the downtown walkway for their contributions to the legendary Ryman Auditorium.

Hundreds of fans surrounded the Walk on Thursday to catch a glimpse of some A-list country stars. But while they were there, they also got a healthy dose of Nashville history.

Thomas Ryman, a powerful businessman turned born-again Christian, originally opened the auditorium in 1892 as the Union Gospel Tabernacle. He conceived of the auditorium as a place to hold revivalist rallies rather than country concerts.

The auditorium only gained its modern name and reputation after Ryman passed away in 1904.

More than a decade later, Lula Naff became the Ryman’s general manager. Over the next 35 years, Naff turned the Ryman into a Nashville institution, filling the venue with legendary acts from Harry Houdini to the Grand Ole Opry.

Ryman Hospitality CEO Colin Reed praised Ryman and Naff for their work.

“Can you imagine what would have happened in this city over the last 125 years if that beautiful, beautiful building was not built?" asked Reed.

The ceremony also coincided with the 125th anniversary of the auditorium.