Throwback Thursday – Bowling Green High School

This week we’re on Center Street in downtown Bowling Green. You’ve probably driven past the Columns apartments many times, but have you noticed they were the original Bowling Green High School? Let’s find out more about the city’s first public high school.

The first public schools in Bowling Green were established in 1883. At the time, a public education was considered an eight-year program. Almost 800 students were enrolled by the turn of the 20th century. Called Bowling Green High School, the town’s first public high school for continued education opened in 1908.

Twenty-five students enrolled in the first year and the inaugural class of 1912 was only six graduates. Classes were held at the St. Columbia Academy on Center Street, and the building was razed two years later to make room for a larger school as more students enrolled for further education. 

The gymnasium was built in 1938, and the school expanded with more classrooms and a stage. The desegregation of Bowling Green’s schools in the 1960s led to more growth when students from High Street High and College High joined the Bowling Green High student body. The Center Street location was too small and the larger Bowling Green High School at its current day Rockingham Lane location opened in 1970.

Bowling Green High School was one of the first two comprehensive high schools in Kentucky, along with Louisville Male High. This is why both schools still have the golden letter “H” on a purple field as their alma mater identifiers.

Over the past 100 years, more than 20 thousand students have graduated from Bowling Green High School. The school has undergone many renovations and is currently under construction once again.