Riverview at Hobson Grove

Historical Marker #1127 in Bowling Green commemorates Riverview at Hobson Grove, which was occupied by Confederate soldiers during the Civil War.

Built on high ground overlooking the Barren River, Riverview at Hobson Grove was the home of wealthy banker Atwood Hobson, his wife Juliet van Meter Hobson, and their children. Construction on the impressive Italianate-style house began in the late 1850s. However, the mansion stood uncompleted when Confederate forces under the command of Kentucky native Simon Bolivar Buckner occupied Bowling Green in September 1861.

Hobson was concerned that the unfinished manor and the surrounding grounds would be damaged by the Confederates during the occupation. Hobson was a strong Unionist. In addition, his son, William, and his brother, Edward, were officers in the Union army. Buckner, who had served with Hobson's brother during the Mexican War, assured the owner that the property would be spared. The Confederates did make use of the house, however, by constructing a temporary roof over the unfinished structure and by storing munitions in the basement.

During the Civil War, Bowling Green proved to be strategically located. Situated on the Louisville and Nashville Railroad and along the Barren River, the town had many hilltops where fortifications could be built. When the Confederates moved into Kentucky, Bowling Green became the center position of their initial defensive line across Kentucky.

The town's importance was highlighted in November 1861, when Confederate sympathizers held a state sovereignty convention in Russellville. During that convention, Bowling Green was designated the Confederate capital of the state. The capital's location proved to be short-lived. When Union General Ulysses S. Grant's Federal army invaded Tennessee in February 1862, the Confederates occupying Bowling Green left Kentucky.

Riverview, completed in 1872, became one of the finest houses in Warren County. The home was occupied by Hobson descendents until 1950, when it was rented to a string of occupants. In 1965, after a fire damaged part of the house, it was abandoned and fell into disrepair. Purchased by the city of Bowling Green in the late 1960s, Riverview was renovated and opened to the public in 1972 as a house museum.