Bowling Green, Virginia

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Bowling Green is an incorporated town in Caroline County, Virginia, United States. The population was 936 at the 2000 census.

The county seat of Caroline County[3] since 1803, Bowling Green is best-known as the "cradle of American horse racing", the home of the second-oldest Masonic Lodge, and the current location of the oldest continuously inhabited residence in Virginia.



The town of Bowling Green was earlier known as New Hope. One of the earliest stage roads in the colony ran through the area from Richmond to the Potomac River, where a ferry crossing was operated to Charles County, Maryland. One of the first stage lines in America to maintain a regular schedule operated along this road. New Hope Tavern was built along the road in the 18th century and the area around it became known as New Hope.[4]

The town was renamed for "The Bowling Green[1]" which was the plantation of town founder, Major John Thomas Hoomes, who donated the land and funds for a new courthouse when the community became the county seat in 1803. The origin of the plantation's name is not definitive but may be based on the 2-acre (8,100 m2) green sward in front of the plantation house itself. The Bowling Green Estate was the site of one of the first tracks built to race horses in America.[5] The plantation house, pre-Georgian tidewater colonial in style, was built circa 1741. A prominent colonial landmark, it is one of the oldest houses in original condition in Virginia[4] and is listed on both the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places.[5]

The present Caroline County Court House was built in 1835 and Bowling Green was incorporated as a town about 2 years later, in 1837. The town is best-known as the "cradle of American horse racing" and as the home of the second-oldest Masonic Lodge.

The Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad (chartered in 1834) was built through nearby Milford (just west of town) and reached Fredericksburg by 1837. This important rail link between several major northern railroads at Washington, DC and other major southern railroads at Richmond was long partially-owned by the Commonwealth of Virginia, and became part of CSX Transportation in the 1990s. It is a major freight railroad line for north-south traffic and the corridor also hosts many Amtrak trains. Although the closest Virginia Railway Express (VRE) commuter passenger rail service to Northern Virginia is currently accessed at Fredericksburg, future VRE extensions southward may include service at Milford which would be very convenient for Bowling Green and the surrounding area.

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