Introduction to Bowling Green, Kentucky
The Kentucky city of Bowling Green lies in the southern part of the state, about 110 miles south of Louisville and about 60 miles north of Nashville, Tennessee. The city sits alongside the Barren River, and is the county seat of Warren County. Neighboring cities include Franklin, Brownsville, Morgantown, Scottsville, and Russellville. Major highways servicing Bowling Green include Interstate 65; U.S. Routes 231, 31W, and 68; and Kentucky State Highways 185, 234, 240, and 242.
First settled in 1780 and incorporated in 1812, Bowling Green served as the Confederate capital of Kentucky from 1861 to 1862 while the city was under occupation by the Confederacy. After the Civil War, the city saw its economic base expand from agriculture and livestock to a wider variety of industries, as shown by many of the historic business structures still in evidence today. In 1906, The Western Kentucky State Normal School was founded in central Bowling Green and this institution went on to become Western Kentucky University, the third largest public university in the state. Today, the University is one of the city's largest employers, along with other major industries calling Bowling Green home, including the General Motors Corvette Plant, Holley Performance Products, and Pan-Oston.
Bowling Green Attractions
One of the most interesting and vibrant cities in the Bluegrass State of Kentucky, Bowling Green has a lot to offer visitors. Sitting in the center of the city is an urban nature reserve known as the Lost River Cave and Valley. Home to 130 species of birds, reptiles, and mammals, the spacious cavern once housed both Union and Confederate soldiers. Today, floating tours are offered at the underground site. Historic downtown square is near to a multitude of properties listed on the National Register, including the Riverview at Hobson Grove historic house museum, the Kentucky Museum and Library, and several Civil War landmarks. Other area attractions include:
- Barren River Imaginative Museum of Science
- Historic L&N Depot and Railpark
- National Corvette Museum
- Aviation Heritage Park
- Fountain Square Park
- Beech Bend Park & Splash Lagoon
- Fort Webb
- Fountain Square
- Leonard D. Brown Agricultural Exposition Center
- Beech Bend Raceway
- Ballance MotoX
- Race World
- Shaker Museum at South Union
- Eloise B. Houchens Center
- Public Theatre of Kentucky
Sports fans in Bowling Green can follow the exploits of the Western Kentucky University Hilltopper teams. In most sports, including basketball, the Hilltoppers are a member of the Sun Belt Conference. The men's basketball program is one of the most successful in the history of the NCAA. The school has made one appearance in the Final Four (1971) and usually finishes at or near the top of its conference, regularly competing for the conference championship. The Hilltopper football team belongs to the Gateway Football Conference as an NCAA Division 1-AA team; however, the school is considering relocating its football program to Division I-A in the Sun Belt Conference.
There are no major league professional sports teams in Kentucky. However, there are major league teams located only an hour away in nearby Nashville, Tennessee. The National Football League's Tennessee Titans, who moved from Houston before the 1997 season, play in Nashville, as do the National Hockey League's Nashville Predators. Baseball fans can catch some Minor League action there by watching the Nashville Sounds, a Triple-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. The Sounds compete in the Pacific Coast League.
An early May visitor to Bowling Green will not want to pass up the opportunity to take a two-hour drive north to Louisville to witness the legendary Kentucky Derby. The single most famous event in US thoroughbred racing, the Derby takes place on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs in Louisville. The Derby is the first of three major races for three-year-olds which comprise racing's Triple Crown.