Throwback Thursday – The Turpin Building

Downtown Bowling Green is the heart of this community. Since the town sprawled from this center, the buildings that make up Fountain Square are some of the oldest. This week we’re featuring the Turpin Building on State Street. Recognize it from the beautiful Kentucky limestone façade.

Built in 1872 for Mary Turpin, the Italianate style still radiates nearly 150 years later. The outward face is covered with the white limestone from one of Warren County’s quarries that was popular during the 1920s and 30s. Mysterious faces and gargoyles even stare from atop the molding.

The stone originally belonged to Mr. T.D. Calvert, who owned the home where Ogden College was founded. Calvert sold the stone to the Turpins just in time before the home was demolished around 1950.

The Turpin Building has been the home of many Bowling Green retailers, and some of the biggest names in town at the turn of the 20th century. The Bazaar department store was one of the frontrunners before Pushin’s and Woolworth’s ever came to town. The Bazaar had clothes, shoes, pianos, sewing machines, this and that. 

Then there was Hartig & Binzel Jewelers, who opened their store in this location before moving to Main Street by the 1940s. The Lantern Glow Eat Shoppe was one of the hotspots for quick bites to eat, serving meals throughout the 1940s.

The Bowling Green Commercial Club, the group that paved the way for the Chamber of Commerce, was housed here. There was also the Turpin family insurance and real estate business that thrived for a few decades between the 1930s and 1960s.