This week we’re at the Booth Fire & Safety building in downtown Bowling Green, just off the corner of State and Sixth streets. This was once the city’s heart of innovation and modern automotive district. In 1921, Bowling Green was considered an early example of the future motorized city.
According to the Bowling Green Daily News, Popular Mechanics magazine published an article profiling the city in 1921. The article focused on the decline of streetcar service in the city with the dawn of the modern automobile age.
With a population of 15 thousand people at the time, more auto licenses were issued in Bowling Green than in any other city comparable in size in the country. It was said that the ratio of people to cars was three to one.
Automobiles and increasingly larger farm equipment were sold out of livery stables, carriage and bicycle shops. By 1925, the Bowling Green Daily News reports there were 10 auto dealers and service shops in the city.
During the 1930s, car dealerships became simpler as sales dropped because of the great economic depression. Equipment manufacturers suggested retailers move out of busy downtown areas to spread out show spaces and include gas filling stations for new purchases.
This Booth Fire & Safety building is one of a couple that remains from the Warren County modern auto district. The building was formerly Galloway Farm Equipment, owned by brothers Frank and Henry Galloway.
The art deco structure is defined by its blonde bricks, sleek window views, and simple architectural lines. They’re meant to symbolize speed and machine precision.
In 2007, the building was restored for Booth Fire & Safety, the new home for a well-established Bowling Green company with over 40 years of community service.
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