Locals provided guided tours to showcase Bowling Green

Unlike Christopher Columbus, the first settler of our county was a woman by the name of Elisha Martindale in 1833.

Before 1835, residents were living in a city by the name of Mount Ararat. Surprisingly to some, The City of Bowling Green has more history than what some of us may know.

Local History Specialist, Marnie Pratt said, “The tour is to give folks an idea of what BG was like in the late 1800s, early 1900s which is referred to as the “Boom Town” area. Oil and natural gas was discovered there.”

Much of downtown was built during that era. However, Downtown Bowling Green experienced two fires in 1887 and 1888.

During that time, Bowling Green looked quite different.

Boarded sidewalks, unpaved dirt on Main Street, no electric street lights, horses as transportation, and what is known to college kids now as Wooster Street, was known as Union Street to others.

Anderson Lee, who grew up in the City of Bowling Green, is writing a book about its history.

“I’m very excited to explore more into the history,” Lee said. “I like to excite in people a curiosity and a passion for history. Even though I lived here all my life, I still notice new things all the time.”

As residents walked downtown, they stopped at historical buildings and compared them to modern-day buildings as we all know them today.

On the corner of Oak Street, you might be familiar with the Wood County Senior Citizen Center. This building was actually the first post office in 1914, until 1970.

Across the street from the old post office you have Howard’s Bar. Howard’s Bar was Howard’s Restaurant at one point in time.

If you ever walked in Howard’s you might smell something that isn’t too pleasant.

That smell comes from horses. Howard’s Bar was once the Orme’s Livery Stable for horses, since the primary transportation was horses at the time.

Remaining on the same side as the old post office on Main Street, you have Pisanello’s Pizza.

This now famous pizza shop was built in 1892 by Frank Kabig and Allen McKenzie. Until 1907, this building served as a butcher shop. The name KABIC is not only spelled incorrectly but the name is still engraved in the stone at the top of building.

At one point Downtown Bowling Green wasn’t just filled with bars and food, they actually had living arrangements for potential visitors.

Downtown Bar was known as Terry Hotel which burned down making it into Hotel Brown or Brown Hotel. Built in 1890, Hotel Brown was identified as the “only first-class hotel in the city” with rates at two dollars per day. This hotel operated until 1919, was changed to Elk’s Lodge and then to Downtown Bar.

Opened in 1926, Cla-Zel Theater is the longest first-run theater in Ohio. Named after the owners Clark [Cla] and Hazel [Zel] Young, this theater actually stopped serving as a local theater in 2005. It now serves as a entertainment and community venue.

Bowling Green has more history to be taught. Pratt said she doesn’t know if it is tradition yet, but this is the second tour that she has done.

As of 2013, Bowling Green is home to over 30,000 residents according to city-data.com compared to the numbers of the 1860 and 1870 census with a total of 1,075 residents.