Bowling Green Fire Department, 1898

Fire Flashback: The Mariah Moore House

From The Daily News
by Brian Wilkerson

Fire gutted one of Bowling Green's oldest brick buildings early today, but owner Rick Kelley said he plans to salvage what he can rebuild. The Mariah Moore House, buit either in 1819 or 1820 at 801 State Street, has been home to Mariah's restaurant since 1980.

"The objective now is to put it back together," Kelley said, adding that contractors will be contacted immediately. "We've got 100 employees we've got to put back to work."

The hardest hit portion of the restaurant was the oldest. Though the walls are still standing, the roof over the two-story structure caved in. The newer areas sustained smoke and water damage, but fire walls and doors helped protect them, said Kelley, who learned of the fire from his secretary, who was listening to a police scanner.

"It's a major loss, said Rick DuBose, Bowling Green-Warren County Chamber of Commerce's executive director.

Bowling Green fire Chief Vindell Webster said half of the structure was saved, and he praised the approximately 50 firefighters who responded.

"Normally, you don't save buildings like this because of their age and because renovations create spaces where fire can hide," Webster said.

The origin of the blaze isn't yet known, but when the department arrived about 1:40 a.m., more flames appeared to be in the basement area, he said. It took nearly two hours to control the blaze, but firefighters were at the scene today to douse hot spots and ensure the building is structurally safe. Webster, emphasizing that an investigation will take seeral days, said arson isn't currently suspected. Employees who were in the restaurant about midnight will be questioned, he said.

One firefighter hyperextended his knee fighting the fire, "but he's OK," Webster said.

Moores part of BG history
From The Daily News

The Mariah Moore House, built either in 1819 or 1820, is generally considred the oldest brick building in Bowling Green and is on the National Register of Historic Places. An old lawsuit uncovered in Barren County indicates that a carpenter who worked on the house estimated that it cost about $3,000 to build.

Although named after Moore, the structure was built by her mother, Elizabeth. Moore, who never married, lived there until her death in 1888. Elizabeth was the widow of George Moore - who, with his brother Robert donated the land for the county's first court house. The Moore brothers are Bowling Greens' founding fathers.

Before 1979 the building served as a carpet shop, said current owner Rick Kelley, who turned it into Mariahs' Restaurant in 1980.

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