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Bowling Green, Ohio
Downtown Bowling Green, Ohio as seen from the intersection of Main St. and Wooster St.
Downtown Bowling Green, Ohio as seen from the intersection of Main St. and Wooster St.
Official seal of Bowling Green, Ohio
BG, Pull Town, USA
Location in Ohio
Location in Ohio
Location of Bowling Green in Wood County
Location of Bowling Green in Wood County
Country United States
State Ohio
County Wood
Incorporated 1901
 • Type "Mayor-Administrator"
 • City 12.84 sq mi (33.25 km2)
 • Land 12.79 sq mi (33.13 km2)
 • Water 0.05 sq mi (0.12 km2)  0.40%
696 ft (212 m)
 • City 30,028
 • Estimate 
 • Density 2,463.17/sq mi (951.03/km2)
 • Metro
Time zone UTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
Zip code
Area code(s) 419, 567
FIPS code 39-07972
GNIS feature ID 1048538

Bowling Green is a city in and the county seat of Wood County, Ohio, United States, located 20 miles southwest of Toledo. The population was 30,028 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Toledo Metropolitan Area and a member of the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments. Bowling Green is the home of Bowling Green State University.


Bowling Green was first settled in 1832, was incorporated as a town in 1855, and became a city in 1901. The village was named after Bowling Green, Kentucky by a retired postal worker who had once delivered mail there. With the discovery of oil in the late 19th and early 20th century, Bowling Green experienced a boon to its economy. The wealth can still be seen in the downtown storefronts, and along Wooster Street, where many of the oldest and largest homes were built. A new county courthouse was also constructed in the 1890s, and a Neoclassical post office was erected in 1913. This period was followed by an expansion of the automobile industry. In late 1922 or early 1923, Coats Steam Car moved to the area, but eventually went out of business.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.61 square miles (32.66 km2), of which 12.56 square miles (32.53 km2) is land and 0.05 square miles (0.13 km2) is water. Bowling Green is within an area of land that was once the Great Black Swamp which was drained and settled in the 19th century. The nutrient-rich soil makes for highly productive farm land. Bowling Green, Ohio is in the North Western hemisphere at approximately 41.376132°N, -83.623897°W.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 906
1880 1,539 69.9%
1890 3,467 125.3%
1900 5,067 46.1%
1910 5,222 3.1%
1920 5,788 10.8%
1930 6,688 15.5%
1940 7,190 7.5%
1950 12,005 67.0%
1960 13,574 13.1%
1970 21,760 60.3%
1980 25,745 18.3%
1990 28,176 9.4%
2000 29,636 5.2%
2010 30,028 1.3%
2020 30,808 2.6%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 30,028 people, 11,288 households, and 4,675 families living in the city. The population density was 2,390.8 inhabitants per square mile (923.1/km2). There were 12,301 housing units at an average density of 979.4 per square mile (378.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 87.6% White, 6.4% African American, 0.2% Native American, 2.1% Asian, 1.4% from other races, and 2.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.8% of the population.

There were 11,288 households, of which 18.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 30.7% were married couples living together, 7.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 58.6% were non-families. 35.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.16 and the average family size was 2.82.

The median age in the city was 23.2 years. 12.8% of residents were under the age of 18; 43.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 19.5% were from 25 to 44; 15.7% were from 45 to 64; and 8.9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.0% male and 52.0% female.

Arts and culture

Black Swamp Arts Festival

Every September, the Black Swamp Arts Festival takes place in Bowling Green. Started in 1993, the festival has grown in size and prestige.

The name Black Swamp was chosen for the festival because it is a common term for this area of the state. The Great Black Swamp, which was drained near the end of the 1800s to make farming possible, extended from Lake Erie to Indiana. It was the last area of Ohio to be settled. Bowling Green is the largest city now in the remnants of this vast wetland.

Main Street is closed to traffic for the festival, and artists from around the country display and sell a variety of artwork. There are also musical performances, children's activities, and food. The festival has grown to include over 100 juried artists, 50 local/invitational artists, four live music stages, youth arts, acts of art, and concessions. Numerous types of music, including blues, jazz, and rock, are heard from the main stage. The Festival has a reputation for booking a diverse and entertaining musical line up. The Main Stage features national and international touring bands of all genres. The Black Swamp Arts Festival attracts 40,000 art and music fans to Bowling Green.

National Tractor Pulling championships

Bowling Green has hosted the National Tractor Pulling Championships since 1967. This annual event, one of the largest in the nation, is held at the Wood County Fairgrounds and draws an estimated 60,000 people. The Fairgrounds is located along Poe Road between Haskins Road (State Route 64) and Brim Road.

Wood County Fair

Every year Bowling Green hosts the Wood County Fair, a week-long festival that begins shortly before or after the end of July. The fairgrounds are located off Poe Road between Haskins and Brim roads. Main Events include: Tractor Pull, Altered Farm stock Tractor Pull, Antique Tractor Pull, Mule Pull, Semi-Truck Pull, Youth Parade, Demolition/Combine Derby, Catch-a-pig, Cheerleading Competition, Harness Racing, and the annual Country Music Concert. Another special event is quilt day. Special Days like Senior Citizen day or DARE day allow discounted tickets.

Country singers who have performed at the Wood County Fair:


Similar to other winter cities, Bowling Green hosts an annual event for three days in February to celebrate winter, snow, and cold weather activities. Winterfest in Bowling Green centers around the rich ice skating and ice hockey traditions of the town. Winterfest events are held all over Bowling Green, and on and off campus of Bowling Green State University. Notable events include curling, carriage rides, ice sculptures, and live entertainment, plus BGSU Athletic events such as hockey and basketball games and figure skating exhibition with local stars such as Scott Hamilton.


Centrex Bus Stop
A university shuttle
  • A public demand response bus service is operated by the city through B.G. Transit.
  • Bowling Green State University offers shuttle services via its own buses with routes throughout campus and the downtown area.
  • Bowling Green is linked to North Baltimore via a 13-mile rail trail called the Slippery Elm Trail, with East Broadway Street in North Baltimore on the south end and Sand Ridge Road in Bowling Green on the north end.
  • A CSX line runs through town.

Energy policy

Bowling Green Wind Power
A wind turbine outside of Bowling Green, Ohio.

Ohio's first utility-sized wind farm is located along U.S. Route 6 just west of the city limits. There are four turbines that are each 257 feet (78 m) tall. These turbines generate up to 7.2 megawatts of power, which is enough to supply electricity for some 3,000 residents. Located about six miles (10 km) from the city, the turbines can be seen for miles and have become a local attraction. At the site of the turbines, a solar-powered kiosk provides information for visitors, including current information on wind speeds and the amount of energy being produced by the turbines.

Through the city's Municipal Utilities office, residents can request that their power come from green energy. As of March 1, 2014, the current power cost premium is $.007 per KWH.

However, Bowling Green's green credentials were damaged in 2008, when the city signed a power contract with AMP-Ohio to help build a 960-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Meigs County, Ohio. Several large environmental groups, including Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Ohio Environmental Council, opposed the building of a coal-fired power plant due to the pollution it would cause. In late 2009, AMP canceled the project, citing an estimated 37% increase in cost to more than $3 billion.

Sister cities

Bowling Green is a sister city to St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada.


Industries of War - Machinery - MAKING JOINTS FRO SIGNAL CORPS, THE UNIVERSAL MACHINE CO., BOWLING GREEN, Ohio - NARA - 31490505 (cropped)
Workers at the Universal Machine Co. in Bowling Green, Ohio producing materials for the Signal Corps during World War I.

LifeFormations, a mechatronics company, is based in Bowling Green. They have made animatronics based on licensed properties such as Shrek for theme parks such as Universal Studios Florida.

Lubrizol maintains a soap and surfactant production plant in Bowling Green. The Bowling Green plant opened in 1994 and was expanded in 2013.

Aliquantum International maintains a sales office in Bowling Green. The company licences characters from the Japanese company San-X for local markets, such as Rilakkuma.

Poggemeyer Design Group, an architecture and engineering firm, maintains its headquarters in Bowling Green.


Primary education

Public elementary schools of the Bowling Green City School District include Kenwood Elementary, Conneaut Elementary and Crim Elementary. Ridge Elementary was closed in 2013 and Milton Elementary was closed in 2011. Two private primary schools, Bowling Green Christian Academy and the Montessori School of Bowling Green, and one parochial, St. Aloysius, also call Bowling Green home. The Bowling Green Early Childhood Learning Center (Montessori) offers kindergarten and Plan, Do and Talk goes up to grade three.

Secondary education

  • Bowling Green Middle School
  • Bowling Green Senior High School

Post-secondary education

  • Bowling Green State University is located on the northeast side of the city, along and north of Wooster Street (Ohio State Route 64, Ohio State Route 105). As of September 2014 it has 18,856 students.

Public library

Wood County District Public Library, BG
The Wood County Public Library
  • Bowling Green has the main branch of the Wood County District Public Library.

Notable people

  • John Barnes, science-fiction writer
  • Theresa Gavarone, Ohio Senator
  • Alissa Czisny, figure skater, 2009 and 2011 U.S. champion
  • William Easterly, economist / professor at NYU
  • Randy Gardner, Chancellor, Ohio Department of Higher Education
  • Scott Hamilton, figure skater, 1984 Olympic champion; television commentator
  • Chris Hoiles, retired Major League Baseball player
  • Doug Mallory, NFL assistant coach
  • Mike Mallory, NFL assistant coach
  • Paul Pope, alternative comic book writer/artist
  • Andy Tracy, first baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies, alumnus of Bowling Green High School and Bowling Green State University
  • Dave Wottle, runner, 1972 Olympic gold medalist
  • Cara Zavaleta, reality TV personality and model

Images for kids

See also

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