Throwback Thursday – McFadin’s Station, Gateway to Bowling Green

This week we’re stepping back in time more than 200 years before Bowling Green was founded. These were the days when southern Kentucky was a frontier wilderness, unexplored by Americans newly-independent from British colonial rule.

Many colonists who fought in the Revolutionary War continued their journey westward as pioneers. Bringing their families along, five of the eight McFadin brothers from North Carolina settled in the Barren River area in the early 1780s. 

Andrew McFadin was a surveyor, who landed at the Cumberland Trace. It was an important route that connected the Wilderness Road from Virginia to Kentucky, passing by Greensburg and Glasgow, crossing over the Barren River, and eventually hitting Nashville.

In 1785, Andrew McFadin built a log cabin station at the north bank of the Barren River at the Cumberland Trace. In those days, a station was like a modern day highway stop—a place to rest, eat and gather supplies, shelter animals, and a safe space to seek cover during inclement weather or a Native American attack. 

Ten years later, Robert Moore used McFadin’s Station as a stopover before heading a little further west to found the city of Bowling Green in 1798. The station played an important role in guiding travelers of the southern Kentucky frontier. 

Historic markers for McFadin’s Station currently sit on Cumberland Trace road and Porter Pike in Bowling Green, highlighting routes pioneers took more than 230 years ago in their search for new life in the wilderness.