Events that took place 150 years ago will be the focus of a community-wide commemoration Saturday, September 17, as the city of Bowling Green remembers the Civil War. Every 50 years, the nation strives to remind the current generation about the sacrifices so many of our ancestors made when the War Between the States split our country in two. We have a lot to learn from visiting the country’s significant Civil War sites, but this is an opportunity to see re-enactors, view exhibits, hear from experts, watch living historians, and go on special tours right here in our back yard!
Activities begin at 8 a.m. at the Historic Railpark & Train Museum when the South Union Regiment will reenact the Confederate arrival in Bowling Green followed by a presentation by Dr. Michael Trapasso, a local historian. The Railpark’s brand new exhibit, “Civil War and the Railroad,” will open at 10 a.m. as well as an outdoor living history village with period craft demonstrations that continues until 4 p.m.
The re-enactors will march from the Railpark to nearby Riverview at Hobson Grove around 9:30 a.m. where they will continue with reenactments and activities at this historic home that was once used as munitions storage. View a special juried art exhibit, hear Dr. Trapasso discuss “The Rise and Fall of a Confederate State Capital,” and learn about the woman’s role during the war inside the mansion.
At the Kentucky Museum, children will delight in learning Civil War dances, trying on period clothing, practicing Civil War writing, and participating in Scavenger Hunts in the Civil War exhibit, “A Star in Each Flag: Conflict in Kentucky.” In addition, there will be Collodion photography demonstrations, showings of “A Call to War,” and presentations from experts.
In downtown Bowling Green, self-guided architectural tours will begin at The Presbyterian Church on State St. and continue to numerous buildings where costumed interpreters will explain a little history and hearsay about the properties. Tours are available from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. with maps provided at the starting location.
If you are lucky enough to snag a spot, Lost River Cave & Valley is offering limited Smoke writing Tours into areas of the cave not open to the public. This practice was common as soldiers hiding or camping out held flames to the cave’s ceiling to leave their mark. Fountain Square Players will be presenting another type of tour Saturday evening, the “Spirits of the Civil War” tour where four ‘ghostly perspectives’ will be shared with the group as they walk to different locations around the Railpark.
Find a full schedule of events, visit our Civil War Sesquicentennial page here or give us a call at 270-782-0800. These attractions and organizations have been planning a long time for this commemoration. We are very fortunate to have such rich history in our area and even luckier to have passionate people who want to help keep that history alive, no matter how ugly it may have been.