Throwback Thursday – Remembering the Modern Auto District

With the recent news of the new Gasper Brewing Company and Saffron Yoga coming to 302 State Street in downtown Bowling Green, it inspired us to revisit the history of this unique block. A century ago, this was the Modern Automotive District with a car dealership, repair shop and garage, and gas station. 

Several Bowling Green organizations have played a role in preserving the structures that once made this area buzz. The Downtown Redevelopment Authority, or DRA, and Booth Fire & Safety currently live in the modern blonde buildings at the corner of State Street. We’ve featured them on Throwback Thursday over the past couple of years, but never as a whole auto district package. They’ve maintained their unique facades and helped re-establish Circus Square as a community hub.

The restored 1921 Standard Oil Station on the corner of Circus Square Park also adds another piece to the old Modern Auto District. Restored in 2009, the Landmark Association took on the project in an effort to continue preserving pieces of history downtown.

Think about the timeline for when the auto district took shape. Just after the turn of the 20th century when the automobile was invented, it took about a decade for auto makers to mass produce cars and make them affordable. Traveling became a new hobby.

Federal highway 31 was the main transportation highway at the time, and having auto dealers, repair shops and garages, and gas stations all in the same block made it easy for customers and travelers alike. This area became a common pit stop for anyone heading in or out of downtown Bowling Green.