Ryman Auditorium was constructed between 1888 and 1892 as the Union Gospel Tabernacle. It was built by Reverend Samuel Porter Jones, an evangelist who held numerous revival meetings in Nashville from the early 1880s to 1900. Rev. Jones wanted an auditorium where revival meetings and other events of community interest could be held. The catalyst for the auditorium’s construction occurred in May 1885 when wealthy riverboat Captain Thomas Green Ryman and some of his crew descended on one of Jones’s revivals to harass the minister and break up the meeting. Ryman was so overwhelmed by the sermon that he became an immediate follower of Jones.