Throwback Thursday – The Heart of Downtown Bowling Green in 1920

For the third installment in this series on what life was like a century ago at the start of the 1920s, this time we’re on Fountain Square in downtown Bowling Green. This is the corner of Main and College streets, that was under construction with a new department store, and part of the liveliest few blocks in town. 

Fountain Square had been the heart of the city for nearly 50 years, just a few blocks from the Louisville & Nashville train depot, it bustled with carts, buggies, horses, and people trading goods and services every day. The fountain itself was half a century old and a favorite photo spot.

The national trend was the growth of a self-service style grocery store, and a new Piggly Wiggly store opened on Park Row in the Covington Building in 1920.

Sam and Louis Pushin built a new type of shopping experience with their department store. The Pushins store had everything—furniture, trendy new home appliances, shoes and clothing, and even an on-site alterations department. Sometimes staff was known to take breaks on the roof.

Overnight visitors stopping downtown had the opportunity to stay at the newly remodeled Helm Hotel on the corner of State and Main Streets. It was just steps away from shopping, dining, and the Modern Auto District on College Street. The auto dealers shared a block with the repair shop and new gas station, making the auto district the one-stop shop for all consumer car needs.

Many of the Fountain Square buildings were already more than half a century old by 1920, and Bowling Green citizens and businesses continue preserving history today. In another 100 years, what will they say about life here right now?