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Bowling Green, Ohio

Bowling Green is the county seat of Wood County in the state of Ohio, 25 miles south of Toledo.   With a population of about 30,000, BG is home to Bowling Green State University.

Bowling Green was selected as one of Ohio Magazine’s “Five Best Hometowns” in 2008.

Downtown Bowling Green bustles with activity, attracting people of all ages.  Enhancing the street scene are cafes, restaurants and shops, such as Pisanello’s pizza emporium, Grounds for Thought coffee shop and the Cookie Jar bakery, where the aroma of fresh-baked confections lures those with a sweet tooth. Residents can also enjoy a full range of activities at the Wood County Library located in the heart of downtown. Whether it’s a meet-and-greet with an author, a book discussion group or live piano music in the library’s atrium, there’s something new to experience every day.

Residents have recreation opportunities at nearby parks such as the Wintergarden/St. Johns Nature Preserve and the 24-mile Slippery Elm Bicycle Trail, and at the community center, a 79,000-square-foot facility that offers a fitness center, indoor track, basketball courts and after-school programs.  Spectator sports are plentiful in this university town that provides students and residents alike a full complement of intercollegiate athletic events. There are also community celebrations such as the annual Black Swamp Arts Festival, a weekend focusing on culture, music and food, and the National Tractor Pull, where the city’s agricultural roots are honored each year at the Wood County Fairgrounds.

While Bowling Green preserves and promotes its heritage at the Wood County Historical Society Center, it also looks to the future, particularly in its adoption of environmental initiatives. Known to some as “Blowing Green,” the city obtains 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources, including Ohio’s first utility-sized wind farm. There are four turbines that are 391 feet tall. These turbines generate up to 7.2 megawatts of power—enough to supply electricity for some 3,000 residents. Located about six miles from the city, the turbines can be seen for miles and have become a local attraction.

The Great Black Swamp is a common regional term for this area of the state. The 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 to exist in the remnants of this vast wetland.

Bowling Green was first settled in 1832, was incorporated as a town in 1855, and became a city in 1901. In the late 19th and early 20th century, Bowling Green experienced a boom with the discovery of oil. The wealth can be seen in the downtown store fronts and along Wooster Street where many of the oldest and largest homes were built.

From “Ohio Magazine”