The history of Bowling Green begins with Native American history in the area and in fact, in its early days, it was visited by Bishop William McKendree, known as the first Native American Methodist bishop.  This occurred at the beginning of the nineteenth century just after the area began to be settled (the town was incorporated in 1798).  At this time, the most important quality of the area drawing people to it was the Barren River which acted as a means of transportation for industry in the area.  By the middle of the nineteenth century, the railroad also came to the area and industry grew.

This growth was affected, however, by the Civil War.  Bowling Green was a neutral city in the war, but it was located between the north and south and battles were fought in the area for control of the land.  Military forts were built up and the area became primarily a war city until the war had ended.  After that time, growth resumed.  By the end of the nineteenth century, schools were being built, including what would become Western Kentucky University .

The university was one of the most important contributions to the history of the area.  Various types of industry cropped up all throughout the twentieth century, but the school remained a draw to the area through many changes.  One of the most stable of these industries, the General Motors Corvette Manufacturing Plant ( ), didn’t come around until the early 1980’s.  Since then, it has also contributed greatly to the history of the area.