Throwback Thursday – College Hill in the Civil War

This week Throwback Thursday shares more Bowling Green Civil War history. The College Hill district at Reservoir Hill is one of the most prominent spots. While it’s now a historic Victorian-era neighborhood, it was once home to a Confederate fort.

Throwback Thursday has covered how Bowling Green was home to both Confederate and Union occupation during the American Civil War. The Confederate Army held the city first, until 1862. It had nine fortifications spread throughout the town and about four thousand soldiers manning the holds.

This College Hill was home to Fort C.F. Smith, the largest of all the fortifications. Trees were chopped down and log ends sharpened as barriers to oncoming Union cavalrymen. The Confederate Army used some of stone from a nearby building to aid in the construction.

Colonel Benjamin Harrison managed Fort C.F. Smith for a short time. A couple decades after the war, he became the twenty-third President of the United States. He was the grandson of ninth president William Henry Harrison.

Some of the earthen works from the fort’s construction can still be seen today. The fort’s massive size allowed it to hold more than 25 cannons. College Hill and Fort Smith are featured in many Civil War-era engravings and artists’ depictions of the Bowling Green landscape during wartime.

The College Hill historic marker is located on the corner of Main and Park Streets, just below the Reservoir Hill park entrance.