Throwback Thursday – Nahm Building

The Nahm building sits in the center of the Main Street row on Fountain Square in downtown Bowling Green. It was constructed over 130 years ago. This week we visit the Nahm family scrapbook for a look into the lives of one of Bowling Green’s wealthiest Victorian families.

Four Nahm brothers emigrated from Bavaria to the U.S. in the years leading up the Civil War. They arrived in New Orleans, and by the early 1880s, Emanuel Nahm had settled in Bowling Green. In 1888, Emanuel Nahm had this building constructed for his clothing, hat and shoe store. The Nahms ran the biggest clothing and furnishings house in southern Kentucky until it closed in 1930.

Emanuel’s only son was Maxwell, who built the family estate into an empire, the largest Bowling Green had ever seen. The family’s wealth was valued at over $2,000,000 by 1958 when he passed. Maxwell and his wife had one child, a daughter named Emanie.

Emanie’s exploits are worth a Throwback Thursday segment all their own, but today we explore how Emanie traveled the country telling Bowling Green’s story. She was not the typical southern belle socialite of the early 1910s and 20s.

She aspired to be a journalist and moved to New York City, landing a reporter job at the New York Times. She met Walter Sachs, of the Goldman-Sachs tycoons of Wall Street investors. They had a brief marriage in 1917 and a child. Emanie became fascinated with novels and published a short piece in 1924. Titled Talk, she based the characters and places on Bowling Green—mentioning Fountain Square, Beech Bend Park, the school on the hill, and more. Her writings are at the Kentucky Library and Archives at WKU.

The Nahm family left a lasting legacy. Read more on the historic marker on the bustling centerpiece of Fountain Square.