Warren County

Historical Marker #987 recognizes the formation of Warren County. The twenty-fourth county in order of formation, it is named for Major General Joseph Warren.

Born near Boston on June 11, 1741, Warren entered Harvard at age fourteen. He studied medicine, and, after graduation, ran a successful practice in Boston. Warren is best known for his heroism during the Revolutionary War; he is credited with dispatching William Dawes and Paul Revere on their famous midnight ride to alert the countryside of the approaching British. Warren also earned acclaim at the Battle of Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775.

Warren County was approved by the Kentucky legislature on December 19, 1796, and it was officially created on March 1, 1797. The approximately 546 square miles were taken from portions of Logan County. One of the earliest settlements in the area was at McFadden Station on the north bank of the Barren River. This strategic location connected the settlement with the Cumberland River settlement of Nashville and the Green River settlements to the northeast. As McFadden’s Station prospered, other smaller communities were soon established all around the Warren County area. The first courthouse, located at what today is Fountain Square, was a log structure completed in March 1798. That same year, the county seat, Bolin Green (Bowling Green), was created.

Besides the waterways, rail played an important role in the expansion of Warren County. The Bowling Portage Railroad Company was organized during the early development of Warren County. The one-mile track connected the Barren River with a warehouse for storing freight and merchandise. The company was the first in Kentucky to use iron cars, which were drawn by mules. The Bowling Green Portage Railroad Company was sold to the Louisville and Nashville Company in 1855 for $20,000.