Bowling Green was first settled in 1832, was incorporated as a town in 1855, and became a city in 1901. The village was named after Bowling Green, Kentucky, by a retired postal worker who had once delivered mail there.
In 1868 Bowling Green was designated as the county seat, succeeding Perrysburg.
With the discovery of oil in the area in the late 19th and early 20th century, Bowling Green enjoyed a boom to its economy. The results of wealth generated at the time can still be seen in the downtown storefronts, and along Wooster Street, where many of the oldest and largest homes were built. A new county courthouse was also constructed in the 1890s. The Neoclassical US post office was erected in 1913