Throwback Thursday – Green River Union Meeting House

Warren County’s first church was built during the days of the Great Frontier Revival, part of the Second Great Awakening that hit Kentucky at the turn of the 19th century. French Huguenots fleeing European religious persecution emigrated to the North American British colonies. Descendants of these Protestants built the area’s first log church between 1806 and 1814 near modern day Richardsville.

In those days, small townships in what was deemed the wilderness west of the Appalachians, had congregations that were made up of several denominations. It was no different for the Green River Meeting House. As congregations grew in size when Bowling Green and its surrounding communities grew, groups raised funds to build their own churches and the Green River building became more of a community meeting space than a house of worship. 

The meeting house was rebuilt in 1845 with pews, a large pulpit, and separate entrances for men and women. It was the place where everyone gathered for celebrations, weddings, funerals, and reunions. There are over a thousand graves surrounding the old meeting house area, some dating back to the late 1790s. 

The old building fell into disrepair in the late 1960s, and groups who gave effort to restore the area either moved away, had dwindling funds, or fell victim to constant vandalizing in the 1970s and 80s. Twenty years ago, the Bowling Green Daily News ran an article sharing the history of the old place, with news from the Sheriff, Judge Executive, and the Kentucky Library, all saying the old house was too far gone for any renovations. With hollow walls where windows once were, vanished floorboards filled with beer cans where pews once sat, and no sign of a pulpit.

All that remains is a faded historic marker on the side of Highway 263.