About Bowling Green, KY
Here’s the Gist
Located 60 miles north of Nashville and 110 miles south of Louisville off Interstate 65, Bowling Green is the third-most populous city in the state of Kentucky after Louisville and Lexington. The 2010 U.S. Census Bureau total for Bowling Green is 58,067, and the population of Warren County is 113,792. In 2003, Bowling Green and its surrounding communities were designated as a “metropolitan area” but separate city and county governments remain.
The third largest Kentucky public university, Western Kentucky University, is situated upon a hill in central Bowling Green. Its athletic teams are called Hilltoppers, and the Men’s Basketball program is the 14th winningest Division 1 program in the country.
While Warren County is ‘dry,’ the city of Bowling Green is ‘wet’ allowing establishments with alcohol licenses to serve liquor, beer and wine seven days a week. Package sales are not allowed on Sunday.
Warren County consists of 546 square miles and was named for General Joseph Warren, a hero of the famous American Revolution Battle of Bunker Hill. The area was first settled in 1785 when Andrew McFadin built McFadin’s Station on Barren River. Shortly afterward, another explorer, Robert Moore, paused for a few days at the station before deciding to build in the area.
Brothers George and Robert Moore may not have realized how forward looking they were when they selected a site on the Barren River in south central Kentucky for a new settlement in 1796. At the first county commissioners meeting in early 1798, the pioneers decided that the new town would be “called and known by the name of Bolin Green.” This name was after the Bowling Green Square in New York City, where patriots had pulled down a statue of King George III and used the lead to make bullets during the American Revolution.
In laying out the town, the Moore’s designed two acres for the construction of public buildings. Those same two acres today make up Fountain Square Park in the heart of downtown. This is symbolic of the city of Bowling Green whose central location allowed it quickly to become a major agricultural community and river port, and later, an important commercial and educational center. Today Bowling Green is a regional entertainment hub for more than 250,000 people in 11 surrounding counties.
For more Bowling Green history, visit the City’s website at http://www.bgky.org/history/history.php.
We’re humbled and honored to have been:
- Named a Dozen Distinctive Destination in 2006 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation
- Selected as an All-America City Finalist in 2010 by the National Civic League
- Chosen as a Top Ten Great Public Space (Downtown Fountain Square) in 2010 by the American Planning Association
- Tabbed as one of the Fifty Best Adventure Towns in the country by National Geographic Adventure magazine - 2007 ‘50 Best Places to Live and Play’ issue
- Named by SportsEvents Magazine as a “Destination to Watch” in 2011 and recipient of a 2012 Readers’ Choice Award based on our high standard of professionalism and quality service in hosting events
- Ranked as the 12th Best Place to Launch a Small Business in 2009 in our size category of small cities by CNNMoney.com
- Ranked 3rd in the Nation among metropolitan areas with populations less than 200,000 for its number of industry expansions and locations in 2010 by Site Selection Magazine
- Forbes magazine ranked Bowling Green #5 on its list of Best Small Places for Businesses and Careers in 2011; the city was #12 on this list in 2008, #19 in 2009 and #33 in 2010
Notable recognition for some of our attractions include:
- The Club at Olde Stone, host of the 2008 Jr. Ryder Cup, was ranked #87 of Top 100 Modern Courses GolfWeek Magazine in 2010 and #8 in Golf Digest’s ranking of America’s Best New Courses in 2007
- The National Corvette Museum was named one of the Top 10 Automobile Museums by Edmunds.com in 2007
- Beech Bend Amusement Park was chosen as one of the Top 5 Friendliest Parks and its Kentucky Rumbler one of the Top 20 Best Wooden Roller Coasters by Amusement Today readers from 2007-2011
- The Professional Disc Golf Association rated Kereiakes Park Disc Golf Course a National Top 25 Disc Golf Course
- Chaney’s Dairy Barn was named the Best Ice Cream Parlor in Kentucky by USA Today in 2010
- Western Kentucky University has been the fastest growing university in Kentucky for fourteen years and is one of three universities in Kentucky listed in “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges: 2012 Edition,” making its third appearance in the guide.
Some well-known former and current residents include:
- Duncan Hines, the travel writer turned packaged foods and cake mix king, was born, lived and is buried here. Learn more.
- John Carpenter, the horror film writer, producer, and director of Halloween fame, grew up here. Learn more.
- Newgrass Revival members Sam Bush, a world-renowned mandolin player, and Curtis Burch, an award-winning dobro player, grew up here.
- Members of Nappy Roots, a platinum album-selling rap group, and Cage the Elephant, an indie-rock band, are from Bowling Green.
- Miss Kentucky 2011, Ann-Blair Thornton, is a Bowling Green native and WKU student. Ann-Blair won the Quality of Life Award at The Miss America Pageant in 2012.