Building a Home
In 1857, work began on Atwood G. and Juliet VanMeter Hobson’s home, up on a hill overlooking the Barren River in Bowling Green, KY. Atwood and Juliet had plans for a beautiful estate on the 400 acre farm they had received from Atwood’s uncle, Jonathan Hobson. Bricks were fired for the home, and the foundation and basement were constructed.
The Civil War brought a temporary end to the construction of the home. Atwood was a Union sympathizer in a town full of Confederate soldiers. Atwood spared his partially built home from destruction, by sending a message to the Confederate commander Simon Bolivar Buckner. Buckner used the basement structure as a munitions storage, putting 102 soldiers on the property to protect the site.
After the Civil War
After the war, new plans were drawn and the house was finished in 1872, in a classic Italianate architectural style. Three generations of the Hobson family went on to live in the home for the next 80 years.
Saving the Home
After the home left the hands of the family, it became a home for tenant farmers and later was damaged by a fire that left it set for demolition. Luckily, there was a group of Bowling Green citizens determined to save the home and bring it back to its Victorian era charm of 1860 to 1890. The Friends of Riverview and the city of Bowling Green now work together to preserve this non-profit historic home museum. The only one in Bowling Green!
Riverview at Hobson Grove is on the National Register of Historic Places. Tours are currently available by appointment only. A tour of the home will allow you to see the extraordinary architectural features for the time period; an indoor water closet that featured running water and an oculus in the ceiling creating a ventilation system for the home. The tour lasts about an hour, and a tour of the grounds will take a few minutes more. There is a gift shop in the basement of the home. When we visited last summer, the basement and gift shop were closed due to COVID restrictions. If you call for a tour appointment, make sure to ask about any on-going closures.