Bowling Green, Ohio

From Ohio History Central
Bowling Green map.jpg

Bowling Green is the county seat of Wood County, Ohio. In 1832, Elisha Martindale became the first occupant of land within what is now Bowling Green. The community grew slowly, primarily due to its location within the Great Black Swamp. Perrysburg was the original Wood County seat of government, but in the mid 1870s, residents decided to move the courthouse to Bowling Green. Residents named the town after Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Bowling Green grew relatively slowly. In 1880, only 1,539 people resided in the town. With the discovery of natural gas deposits in the region during the 1880s, Bowling Green's population surged to 3,521 people by 1890. In 1888, the town consisted of three newspapers, six churches, two banks, and several manufacturing businesses. Many of these businesses provided services or products for farmers in the surrounding countryside. Other businesses used the region's natural gas to manufacture glass. In fact, the town's four largest employers were all gas companies in 1888. Two railroads also connected the community with other points in Ohio.

During the twentieth century, the natural gas industry declined in importance to the Wood County economy. Most Bowling Green residents returned to earning their livings by supporting farmers' efforts in the surrounding area. Other locals began to commute to Toledo, Ohio, in neighboring Lucas County, to find employment. Some residents also worked for Bowling Green State University, which was established in 1910. In 2000, Bowling Green was the largest urban area in Wood County, with a population of 29,636 people.

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