You are here

Bowling Green

-A A +A
  • Caroline County Courthouse (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)
  • Caroline County Courthouse (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)
  • Baptist Church (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)

Bowling Green is a county courthouse town that has grown following the traffic pattern along Main Street. The major interest is the Caroline County Courthouse (c. 1830, attributed to William B. Phillips and Malcolm F. Crawford; 1907, addition, William C. West), a temple-form, arcaded courthouse that follows the Jeffersonian tradition. Caroline County was established in 1727, and this may be its sixth county courthouse. Although no records connect Jefferson's builders, Phillips and Crawford, with this building, it closely resembles their Madison County Courthouse. The proportions have been altered from those used at Madison: the space is cramped between the arches and the second-floor windows. The square latticework belfry is probably not original. The courthouse is significant as the site of the original case that led ultimately to Loving v. Virginia and the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision of 1967 that struck down laws banning interracial marriage. The usual auxiliary buildings surround the courthouse. A substantial Confederate monument (1906, J. Henry Brown), erected four decades after the end of the Civil War, stood in front of the courthouse until 2020, when it was dismantled for eventual re-erection in nearby Green Lawn Cemetery.

The town contains other nineteenth-century buildings, the most impressive being the Baptist Church (1898–1899, D. Wiley Anderson; later additions) in the Baptist low Gothic mode, which would have appalled a proper gothicist like Ralph Adams Cram. It is extremely colorful with its polychromatic roof tiles, wide nave, and exuberant tower sporting an incongruous window.

Writing Credits

Richard Guy Wilson et al.
Updated By: 
Gabrielle Esperdy



  • 2020

    Confederate monument removed.


Richard Guy Wilson et al., "Bowling Green", [Bowling Green, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Virginia: Tidewater and Piedmont, Richard Guy Wilson and contributors. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, 353-353.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.