Cork Board Maps History
Presented by Sea Lion Studio, a Digital Media Production Company

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

200 years ago, at the turn of the 19th century, the city of Bowling Green didn’t even exist. Instead, a massive swamp covered much of Northwestern Ohio. Thick with trees and marshes that made it virtually impassable, it was the last bastion of wilderness and mystery in the state of Ohio. Settlers steered clear of it for fear of the Natives and the native wildlife that inhabited the Swamp.

Then, in 1832, an intrepid pioneer by the name of Elisha Martindale trekked down an old Indian trail and claimed a 40-acre swath of land in the swamp. This property stood nearby the present-day location of Conneaut School. Within the next decade, numerous settlers had made their way into the Great Black Swamp. In 1834, postal carrier Joseph Gordon bestowed the name of Bowling Green on the newly built local post office, after his hometown of Bowling Green, Kentucky.

But the name “Bowling Green” didn’t officially stick as the settlement’s title at first. Along present-day Napoleon Rd., pioneers were building a settlement called “Mount Ararat”, because of its location on a patch of higher ground above the marshy lowlands. And a Tavern, Inn, and Blacksmith’s Shop built by John Hannon near the present-day intersection of Poe Rd. and Main St. was called “Hannon’s Corners.”

In 1846, L.C. Locke built his home and a store near what would become the downtown of Bowling Green. Encouraged by his success, other businessmen decided to build in the area.

Shortly before the Civil War broke out in 1860, a massive project was undertaken to drain the Great Black Swamp, greatly increasing the influx of new settlers. What was once a labyrinth of festering marshlands crisscrossed by sand ridges leftover from the receding shores of Lake Erie became a lush patchwork of fertile farmland. Bowling Green is the only city entirely located within the former borders of the Great Black Swamp.

Bowling Green achieved village status in 1855 and was officially incorporated, marking the year in which B.G. was founded. The following year local elections were held and John C. Wooster was chosen to be the first mayor of Bowling Green. Emboldened by the new status of the town and the growth of local businesses, the local citizens began aggressively pursuing the coveted privilege of having the county seat placed in B.G. A battle with Perrysburg ensued, with the county seat eventually being won by B.G. in 1868. Towards the end of the 19th century, as Northwestern Ohio became more settled, discoveries of oil and natural gas deposits increased.

In 1884, Natural Gas was struck in large quantities. Deposits in Allen, Wood, Hancock, and Sandusky counties provided the majority of this new commodity. These discoveries lead to a boom in growth for the region. Real Estate values went through the roof and populations swelled as wealthy businessmen relocated into the area to lend their capital in the formation of a large number of local gas companies. One of these, the Ohio Gas Company, later became Marathon Oil, which today is a worldwide provider of fossil fuels and renewable energy sources.

With offers of free gas lines and the prospect of fortunes to be made in the gas business, many other businesses located themselves in Northwestern Ohio. Most notably, the glassworks industry was attracted to the area. For a short time, Bowling Green earned the nickname ‘The Crystal City’, because of the numerous glassworks businesses in operation.

The population boom lasted until around 1910, when supplies of oil and natural gas began to diminish, and in 1917, Northwest Ohio no longer placed in the top 4 oil-producing regions of the U.S. At the height of the boom, Bowling Green was home to over 50,000 people.

In 1901, the village had grown enough to receive city status from the state. Then, in 1914, the Bowling Green Normal College (now Bowling Green State University) opened its doors, adding further prestige to the community.

Today, Bowling Green is the county seat for Wood County and more than 17,000 students attend Bowling Green State University annually. The rich, textured history of B.G. and Wood County is largely to thank for the fact that Bowling Green is one of the finest places of its size to live in.