Restoration Efforts Continue Following Flooding of Grand Ole Opry House

The Grand Ole Opry and its parent company, Gaylord Entertainment, are continuing efforts to preserve and restore artifacts damaged during the recent flooding of its property in Nashville. Several items were moved to safety when it became obvious the flooding would impact the complex on Briley Parkway, including the Grand Ole Opry House and the Opry Museum. Among those items are the steamboat whistle Opry founder George D. Hay used to signal the beginning of the first Opry performances and the fiddle Roy Acuff played during his first performance on the show. Artist memorabilia, photos and audio and video tapes are being transported to experts in Illinois, New Jersey and Fort Worth for preservation. Virtually all of the Opry’s audio archives were safe above the flood line inside the Grand Ole Opry House, but some audio items housed at radio station WSM will require professional attention. Nashville-based musical instrument expert George Gruhn and luthier Joe Glaser will lead a repair team from across the nation to restore items damaged by the flood. However, one of the most important artifacts from the Opry House, a six-foot circle of oak wood taken from the Ryman Auditorium when the show moved to the Grand Ole Opry House in 1974, is safe. Although the stage was covered by 46 inches of water, Opry president Steve Buchanan says the circle appears to be in “remarkably good condition” and will be refurbished and reinstalled at the center stage of the Opry House when the show returns to the venue later this year. In the interim, Opry performances are taking place at the Ryman Auditorium, the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, War Memorial Auditorium and Two Rivers Baptist Church.