“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Bowling Green in Warren County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)

College Street Commercial Development

College Street Commercial Development Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Shane Oliver, June 5, 2021
1. College Street Commercial Development Marker
Inscription.  Until the early 1940s, the College Street Bridge was the chief entrance to Bowling Green from the Barren River’s northern short.

A Lively Commercial Corridor
As one of the city’s main corridors, College Street boasted a number of commercial properties – liveries, hardware and grocery stores, and other service related businesses – liberally complemented by churches and residences. The nearby area remained mainly residential, with the notable exception of the Kister Planing Mill, until the 1920s when new businesses opened to provide support to the constant flow of automobiles traversing the city on the old Louisville & Nashville Pike, later the Dixie Highway.

Businesses Changed with the Neighborhood
These new businesses included service stations, parts stores, repair garages, and car sales lots. One notable exception was the Willoughby Grocery at 631 College, where Lively B. Willoughby helped operate a grocery and bakery. In 1929, he moved to Louisville and is credited with perfecting and patenting the process of producing canned biscuits. This building later housed the venerable People’s Supply

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Company, an old fashioned hardware store, from 1927 until it closed in the late-1990s.

No Frills Design and Moderne Style
Commercial architecture on College Street was severely utilitarian and chiefly of masonry construction. Store fronts hugged the sidewalks and featured large display windows. The Kirtley Furniture Store (1939) and the Hanley Machine Company (1933) were typical of the area’s mid-twentieth century construction.

The Powell Service Station at 731 College Street stood out because of its Streamline Moderne architecture and the façade’s white and blue enameled metal tiles accented with blue piping. Many College Street businesses – particularly those that provided services for automobiles – were adversely effected with the U.S. 31-W By-Pass was completed and diverted traffic away from the downtown area in the late-1940s.

All the major street names in this area have changed over the years:

College was Bridge, then Summer
Center was Green
Kentucky was Mechanic
6th was Madison
7th was Shelby
8th was Washington

(inset photo captions:)

The Hanley Machine Company building.

Service stations began to replace livery stables in the 1920s. Auto travel and related businesses boomed in the 1940s and 1950s.

The People’s Supply Company building.

The former Powell

College Street Commercial Development Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Bosse, July 5, 2019
2. College Street Commercial Development Marker
This marker is the furthest right of the three markers.
Service Station.

Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ArchitectureIndustry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1929.
Location. 36° 59.775′ N, 86° 26.295′ W. Marker is in Bowling Green, Kentucky, in Warren County. Marker is at the intersection of College Street and E 6th Avenue, on the left when traveling east on College Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Bowling Green KY 42101, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Residential Architecture (here, next to this marker); An African American Neighborhood (a few steps from this marker); Presbyterian Church (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Standard Filling Station No. 1 (about 300 feet away); Modern Automotive District (about 500 feet away); Cecelia Memorial Presbyterian Church (about 500 feet away); Lower College Street (about 600 feet away); A Civil War Defense Line (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bowling Green.

Credits. This page was last revised on June 11, 2021. It was originally submitted on September 11, 2019, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 208 times since then and 47 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on June 10, 2021, by Shane Oliver of Richmond, Virginia.   2. submitted on September 11, 2019, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.

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Dec. 2, 2023