Constructed shortly after the Civil War and listed in the 1876-77 City Business Directory as one on nine hotels in the center of town, the Gerard building is probably the oldest hotel still standing in Bowling Green. Its street floor has housed a wide variety of commercial establishments - bookshop, drug store, saloon, pool hall, clothing store, plumbing supply shop, grocery and restaurant. Until the mid-20th century, however, its upper levels continued as a residential hotel.
The three story structure sports seven bays and has common bonding in the masonry. The façade contains 14 2/2 windows with limestone sills and lentils, 8 brick pilasters, a brick string course between the second and third floor, a corbelled brick cornice and seven cast iron vents.
The hotel's façade has experienced numerous changes in the last half century. The recessed entrance and the display windows, typical of 19th century commercial buildings, were modernized with aluminum framing and plate glass. The façade was painted white, but later the paint was removed from the bricks with a chemical wash. Shortly thereafter, the structure's interior underwent a major renovation.
Rumors indicate that the hotel was constructed for (or at one time owned by) John Gerard, an Irish immigrant who arrived
in Bowling Green shortly before the outbreak of the Civil War and earned his living making furniture. During the war Gerard furnished caskets for the occupying armies (the CSA, mid Sept. 1861 - mid Feb. 1862 and USA, mid Feb 1862 - fall 1865), occasionally as many as 30 a day! After the conflict he continued his furniture making but as the town grew his skill in casket-making became a full-time occupation. Nothing in the Gerard financial records, however, indicates that John C. Gerard owned or invested in structures other than his own business on the corner of College and 10th Street.