‘Hearsay’ at Bowling Green’s Warren County Courthouse

Warren County Courthouse – Bowling Green, Ky.

Bowling Green is much larger than you think it is. My usual method of heading downtown and looking around for something that looked like a courthouse misled me a bit here. I ended up on a street just outside of downtown that had a justice center and the Federal Courthouse. After realizing that there had to be an “old courthouse” I headed further in town and found this jewel. The picture really doesn’t do it justice.

William H. Natcher Federal Courthouse
Bowling Green, Ky.

Unlike most courthouses in the state, Warren County has a plaque on the outside that gives some amazing history. This courthouse was erected in 1867 to 1869 at the cost of $125,000. Designed by D.J. Williams, it contains elements of both the Greek Revival and Italianate styles. It is the fourth courthouse for Warren County. According to the plaque, the courthouse looks much as it did in 1869.

Perhaps my favorite part is the original Victorian iron fence that surrounds the courthouse lawn and remains intact. Interior changes have been drastic and unique. Before the advent of automobiles, the courtroom was moved from its original location in the front of the building to the back to muffle out the sounds of animal hooves on Bowling Green’s cobblestone streets. When these hooves were no longer an issue, the courtroom was moved back to its original location in the front of the courthouse.

Perhaps my favorite part of the plaque is a “hearsay” portion, that notes a few local legends about the courthouse. My favorite is that prominent lawyers would frequently climb in the windows after dark to gather in the empty courtroom to play cards, and that nails can still be seen in the main wall of the building where old campaign flyers and event posters used to hang.

This courthouse is the jewel of a beautiful downtown area. I definitely need to make another trip.