The City of Bowling Green, Ohio is proud to announce its certification, by the National Park Service, as a recognized Certified Local Government (CLG) effective June 16, 2021. Bowling Green, through the hard work of the city’s Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) and the recommendations of several planning documents, has committed to this critical task of historic preservation and increasing awareness of the unique built environment, character, and architecture of the city. The CLG Program allows the city to access benefits such as funding, technical assistance, and best practices. The goal of the HPC is to conduct building surveys, nominate structures and districts for local designation, provide educational opportunities, and research grant opportunities, to name a few.
Bowling Green has a rich history, dating back to 1832, when Elisha Martindale claimed 40 acres of land in northwest Ohio’s Great Black Swamp. A year later, a regional postal carrier named this newly settled area Bowling Green after his hometown in Kentucky. Bowling Green was incorporated as a town in 1855.
Wood County moved the county seat to Bowling Green in the 1870’s and subsequently built the now historic Wood County Courthouse and Jail in 1893, with the County Commissioners taking possession in 1896. The Richardsonian Romanesque design and ornate structure includes carvings, stained glass panels, marble from Italy, and a 195-foot-tall clocktower. Bowling Green, prior to the building of the Courthouse, experienced fast growth in 1884 after large quantities of natural gas attracted five glass-making companies bringing about the town’s temporary nickname of “Crystal City.” With the discovery of oil in the late 19th and early 20th century, Bowling Green became a city in 1901 and experienced another boom to its economy. The wealth can still be seen in the historic downtown storefronts, and along West Wooster Street, where many of the oldest and largest homes were built.
The Ohio legislature approved the charter for Bowling Green State Normal School in 1910, as the demands for training and professional development of teachers increased, and the institution first opened its doors in 1914 at the temporary location of the Bowling Green Armory and a branch in Toledo, Ohio. The two original buildings on-campus still stand – University Hall and Williams Hall – which were built in 1915. Bowling Green State University is an interlinked and key component of the city’s past and future.
Bowling Green is committed to recognizing, celebrating and protecting this rich history for future generations and gaining the proven economic, environmental, and social benefits through an active historic preservation program. As a CLG, the city has the readiness for new preservation opportunities, projects, and a greater sense of pride, while working in collaboration with the community.