BOWLING GREEN MALL was done in by GREENWOOD MALL, which opened in November 1979. After languishing in retail twilight for several years, the complex was repositioned as the WESTERN KENTUCKY CENTER FOR RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT. Renovations completed in December 2002 are indicated in gray on the site plan above.

Nashville Road / US 31 West and South Campbell Lane / US 231
Bowling Green, Kentucky

Cleveland-based Forest City Enterprises developed the Blue Grass State's third interior mall. Its ground breaking was held November 4, 1965 with construction commencing the following April. BOWLING GREEN MALL was built on a 30 acre site 2.3 miles southwest of center city Bowling Green and encompassed 250,000 leasable square feet and thirty-two store spaces.

Consisting of a single retail level, the complex was anchored by a 1-level (80,000 square foot) Woolco, which made its debut May 1, 1967. A 1-level (58,000 square foot), Nashville-based Castner-Knott was dedicated November 3, 1967. A mall-wide grand opening had been held November 1.

The 4 million dollar retail hub included Behr's ladies', Adam's Shoes, Zale's Jewelers, SupeRx Drugs, a Scott's 5 & 10 and A & P supermarket. The single-screen Martin Theatre showed its first feature June 6, 1968. The venue was twinned in May 1975.

BOWLING GREEN MALL enjoyed its position as the only fully-enclosed shopping center in the region for 12 years. Then, a larger and more modern facility came along and took the wind out of its sails. GREENWOOD MALL {2.3 miles southeast, in Bowling Green} enveloped 728,000 leasable square feet and was dedicated in September 1979.

By the early 1980s, the city's original shopping mall was in rather dire straights. Its north anchor, Castner-Knott, had defected to GREENWOOD MALL in February 1980. The shuttering of its Woolco, in early 1983, exacerbated the center's problems.

The Woolco spot was divided, with the southern (28,200 square foot) segment opening as a Muskegon, Michigan-based Quality Farm & Fleet in the spring of 1985. The northern (51,700 square foot) section was leased by Columbus, Ohio-based Big Lots. This store began business August 10, 1986.

The Quality Farm & Fleet store was short-lived. It was replaced by a Richmond, Virginia-based Heilig-Meyers Furniture in March 1988, which closed in April 2001. It was later leased as a locally-based Oak Furniture.

As all of this transpired, tenants came and went inside the mall. A & P closed in the late 1970s. The vacant Castner-Knott spot was leased as supermarket space; a Messick's Big Star and Schnucks SuperSaver. The building also had a brief stint as a Henderson, North Carolina-based Rose's variety store, in 1999. The Scott's dime store closed and re-opened as a T.G. & Y. SupeRx Drug morphed into Osco Drug, which was eventually replaced by Dollar General. The cinema was shuttered in the year 2000.

The virtually vacant shopping center was sold to Western Kentucky University in September 2001. They performed 2 million dollars in renovations and re-opened the complex, as the WESTERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY CENTER FOR RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT, in December 2002.

The University's physics and chemistry departments use the facility to serve high-tech industries that are setting up business in the city. R & D tenants in the repositioned retail center include MCC Fluidized Bed Computer Lab, the Applied Physics Institute, Small Business Incubator, IT Company & Materials Characterization Center.


The Bowling Green Daily News


The graphics from The Bowling Green News illustrate a key moment in the mall's history that is described in the article. The images are of lower resolution than the originals (copies made would be of inferior quality). The images are not replaceable with free-use or public-domain images. The use of the images does not limit the copyright owners' rights to distribute the images in any way. The images are being used for non-profit, informational purposes only and their use is not believed to detract from the original images in any way.