Throwback Thursday – The Getty Building

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Downtown Bowling Green is full of stories. The Getty Building at 440 Main Street has been many things in its lifetime. Built in 1871, it’s on the National Register of
Historic Places.

Current owner Tom Holmes gave us a behind-the-scenes history of the Getty Building. Full of hearsay and true facts, Holmes showed us what’s above the 440 Main restaurant and shared the building’s near 150-year history. John Getty built this to be a dry goods store at the turn of the 20 th century. Sold to the Nahm brothers, by 1902 it was supposedly the largest mercantile in the area. Stocked with everything from clothing and shoes to carpets, the store operated until the 1940s.

Western Auto and the famous Parakeet Restaurant opened on the bottom floor. The Parakeet was “Recommended by Duncan Hines” for years on his Adventures in Good Eating tours.

The third floor of the Getty Building was once a girl’s school, then operated as part of the Bowling Green Business University. It even transformed into a dance hall and skating rink by the 1940s. It was a USO stop during World War II for the traveling troops to relax and socialize.

The modern day 440 Main restaurant opened over 27 years ago. The Junior Achievement office and an Air B&B sit above the restaurant. The third floor is left
untouched, with the skating rink still in sight.

They say the Getty Building is haunted too. It’s one of the stops on the Unseen Bowling Green downtown haunted tour. The second floor is said to be home of a ghost who enjoys good reading, but not dining and noise. Multiple accounts over the years from unrelated people have claimed this female apparition appears in flowing white gowns. A stack of books is left in a closet for her to read and the books are periodically updated to keep her happy.