History of the Hollonville Opry House
Twenty people met on the back porch of a local Pike County family in the spring of 1991. They had a dream and a vision. They loved music – loved to play their musical instruments and loved to sing. The concept was to create a place locally where they could enjoy their music and invite others to enjoy music with them.
A musical organization was created that evening with a mission to promote and preserve Bluegrass, Bluegrass Gospel, Country, Country Gospel and Southern Gospel Music. The organization was to be non-profit and to be a place where God, Country and Family Values were honored and respected. These 20 people now had an organization and the organization had a name and a mission but they needed a location.
Lanier Johnson and his wife, Erle were on the back porch that spring evening and offered the old seed barn on their property in Hollonville for the location if it could be remodeled. It was discussed and the unanimous decision was that the seed barn could be remodeled and made into a nice building in which they could perform and enjoy their music.
Within the next few days the remodeling work on that old seed barn began. Several silos near the barn had to be moved. A yard sale was held and later a fish fry was held to help raise money for the remodeling project. Much hard work and sacrifice went into the completion of the Hollonville Opry House Building that you see today. Some of the folk donated their labor and time and others donated money. These 20 people plus some of their friends and family members changed that old seed barn into a nice music venue with a stage and an auditorium that seats approximately 250 people. A nearby school had some auditorium seats they needed to get rid off and Hollonville Opry House became the excited recipients.
Opening Night at Hollonville Opry House was Saturday, July 20, 1991 and it has been opened almost every Saturday since that date. Additions such as the pavilion and the warm up rooms were later added. Some of the parking lot has been paved.
Five of the original founding members are still active in the organization. You will find them almost every Saturday evening at their Hollonville Opry House. Alice & Bob Chapman, Charlotte & Harold Kirkland and Lynwood Lynch still love the music and love to see the crowds coming in that front door. The other members were lost due to illness, death and life changes. Six new members have joined with the membership now being eleven.
Much of the support given to Hollonville comes from the people who come every Saturday night or come as often as they can. They come because they enjoy the music and the fellowship found there.
One of Hollonville’s special fans was Ms Elisa Ford who lived to be 96 years old. It was a real treat to watch her interact with the bands on stage. Ms Elisa is also remembered for ringing that cowbell and wearing those bright red lips.
Many bands from across Georgia and the Southeast have performed at Hollonville Opry House during these past 17 years. Hollonville has had two bands appearing on their stage that were from Maine and recently Hollonville hosted a band from Alaska. In 2005, Hollonville Opry House was honored to host the Southeastern Bluegrass Association’s Anniversary Celebration and during recent years played host to several Steel Guitar Shows.
On Saturday, November 28th 2008, the Hollonville Opry House was inducted into by the Atlanta County Music Hall of Fame. What a great honor for the Opry House.
Charlotte & Harold holding the Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame award for the Hollonville
The dream that those 20 people had back in 1991 has definitely become a reality. A reality that became much bigger than they could possibly have foreseen. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of those early organizers and to the continued support of the musicians and the fans and most of all thanks to our God, The Hollonville Opry House has made its place in Georgia’s Musical History. For this, we are so humbly grateful
Hollonville Opry House Inc. is a nonprofit organization