415 Park Row
The Covington Building was constructed in the 1860s when the chilly side of the square was known as "frozen row". Built for Joseph Covington, an attorney, director of a local bank, and a noted "stump speaker" at Democrat rallies, this attractive two story structure is noted for its Italianate cornice with paired brackets and dentil molding, decorative brick work and limestone sills and lintels. Such architectural detailing was typical for the post war era and can also be seen in the Gerard Hotel, located a couple of doors down at 423 Park Row.
The building has had a wide variety of uses. In the 1880s and 1890s, locals and traveling businessmen enjoyed playing billiards in a back room after eating and drinking in the "ole Richmond Saloon" with lodging conveniently located on the upper floor. Around the turn of the century, a five and dime "notions, dry goods and novelties" sore was located here and by the 1920s, reflecting a national trend toward the new self-service type grocery store, the phenomenally successful Piggly Wiggly Grocery chain opened a store here with all the latest features of checkout stands, shopping carts, national brands and packaged foods. Opening around 1940, a women's clothing store named Leon's, of which vestiges of the dressing rooms are still
evident, attracted Bowling Greens' ladies for the next thirty years. Upstairs from this busy retail establishment were several medical offices offering services from dental to optometry and chiropractic to health insurance. In the early 1950s, music and news were broadcast all around town from a second floor radio station and during the Vietnam War era young men visited the second floor offices of the USAF after making the serious decision to join the Air Force. Continuing the multi-purpose nature of the building, today the back room that was originally a billiard room is now a candle making factory.
By 1914, the Covington Building extended all the way back to 10th Street linking the Courthouse with Fountain Square. Mr. William Cobb, owner of the five and dime store at the time, welcomed the public to use his building as a short cut. Early maps show a restroom in the rear of the building which made the short cut convenient in more ways that one. Cobb's Dime Store soon acquired the nickname, "Arcade of Bowling Green"