The History of the L&N Depot
Located on a major north-south corridor between two major cities, Bowling Green has a long history tied to the evolution of transportation in Kentucky; from steamboats traveling the Barren River to the railroad and eventually the current interstate systems. The current L&N Depot was built in 1925 to replace an older station. At one time, over 20 trains per day departed the current site, providing a hub for Bowling Green’s economic foundation and exposure to travelers between Louisville, KY and Nashville, TN.
How Did We Get Here
After approval by the Depot Development Authority and Operation Pride, the Historic Railroad Committee (now called the Friends of L&N Depot), an all-volunteer, non-profit group was formed for purpose of acquiring authentic, historic railroad cars for display at the Bowling Green Louisville and Nashville Depot. The goal of the Friends of the L&N Depot is to provide a venue for tourism and local interest and for educational development, within a historic facility.
Within the museum, galleries of regional and national importance have been developed for public interest of cultural, historic and socioeconomic importance. Behind the museum lies 450 feet of track displaying an E8 Engine, a Railroad Post Office Car, the Duncan Hines Diner – a 1949 Pullman diner, the Towering Pine – a 1953 Pullman Sleeper, the 353 Presidential Office Car – the personal car of the president of the L&N built in 1911, and a Chessie Class C-27 caboose. The first cars were placed there in May 2002 and community volunteers have worked hard to restore them to their original splendor. The cars are available for guided tours as well as rental for small catered community meetings on the diner, birthday parties in the caboose and many other special functions. Visit the facility rentals section of the site for more information.
All proceeds from the museum, gift shop and rail car tours are utilized in the ongoing continuation of the goals and efforts to produce an interactive museum of Smithsonian quality; the ongoing restoration efforts on the rail cars, as well as the cost of research, construction, maintenance, and acquisition of artifacts within the displays, exhibits and galleries.