Designed by Louisville architect Brinton B. Davis, who built many of the historic structures on Western Kentucky University’s campus, the Pioneer Log Cabin was constructed in the mid-1930s to commemorate and interpret Kentucky’s pioneer life. Never used for this purpose, the cabin instead housed faculty, staff and international scholars, and once served as the childhood home of film director John Carpenter. In 2004, the building was restored for use for the Folk Studies Program and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Since 2004, the Pioneer Log Cabin has provided the WKU Folk Studies Program an intimate setting for lectures, classes, concerts, and social events. The Kentucky Folklife Program has been headquartered in the space since 2013.
Directions to the Pioneer Log Cabin:
Using GPS Devices and Smartphones: Use the Kentucky Museum’s address for your GPS device or app. The Kentucky Museum’s address is: 1400 Kentucky Street, Bowling Green, KY 42101. The Pioneer Log Cabin is located behind the Kentucky Museum, but if you were to use the Kentucky Folklife Program’s mailing address you would be led to the wrong building on campus (the Ivan Wilson Fine Arts Center). Please note, the Pioneer Log Cabin has white doors. There is a different cabin with yellow doors in front of the Kentucky Museum called the Felts House.
From Louisville and points north: Take Exit 28 off of Interstate 65. Remain in the left-hand lane, headed toward Bowling Green, passing the Corvette Museum on your left.
Continue straight. The road is 68/80, merging with 31W (Louisville Rd). It splits as you approach town, and the lane you are on becomes one-way Adams St. The two lanes of 68/80 join again at a “Y” just beyond a CVS Pharmacy. You will see University buildings (parking structure, arena) ahead. Bear left around the “Y” to reverse your direction. You will see the Pioneer Log Cabin setting back a bit from the road on your right. The Pioneer Log Cabin has white doors. Further down the road, there is a second cabin with yellow doors called the Felts House. If you see this cabin, you have already passed the Pioneer Log Cabin.
From Natcher Parkway and points south: From Nashville, take I-65 north to Exit 20, and go west on the William H. Natcher Parkway (formerly the Green River Parkway).
From the parkway, take Exit 6 and turn right (north) onto Highway 31-W. (There is a sign for Western Kentucky University at this exit). Take 31-W to University Boulevard, and turn left (west). Follow the boulevard to the Kentucky Building/ WKU Welcome Center (about 4 miles from Exit 6). The road splits and a CVS Pharmacy is located at this split. Just after the split (and across the road from the CVS) you will see the Pioneer Log Cabin set back from the road on the right. The Pioneer Log Cabin has white doors. Further down the road, there is a second cabin with yellow doors called the Felts House. If you see this cabin, you have already passed the Pioneer Log Cabin.
For more info, check out the WKU Campus Map.
There are several parking lots adjacent to the Pioneer Log Cabin and the Kentucky Building (home to the Kentucky Museum). Check university parking signs for hours. Some parking lots do not require a parking permit on evenings and weekends. To park in the Kentucky Building/Kentucky Museum parking lot, you must sign in at the Kentucky Museum front desk. There is one metered space off the driveway in front of the Pioneer Log Cabin (behind the Kentucky Building).
If you have any questions about the location of the Pioneer Log Cabin, accessibility, or places to park, you can call the Kentucky Folklife Program at 270-745-4133.