Small Town USA - Cowan, Tennessee
October 9, 2007: I have taken many trips
across the USA, and sometimes I get off the interstate highways and see a bit of America
the way it was when I was growing up in the 1950's. Cowan, Tennessee is a town that
has preserved the look and feel of those days. This old Texaco gas station serves as
a welcome center for the town. To get here, you have to take ALTERNATE US 41 between
Monteagle and Winchester, TN.
There have been some changes to the route maps since the 1950's. The road
from Interstate 24 at Monteagle through St. Andrews and Cowan was always US-41A
(Alternate), but it was also US 64 in the 50's and 60's. When the interstate crossed
Monteagle Mountain with the town at the top, US 41 had its route changed from the its
original route that is now displaced by I-24 southbound on the mountain. About the
same time, US 64 was extended in the valley adjacent to Tennessee state route 50 to
connect to I-24 just off the top edge of this map segment seen below.
Here are some views of the town and its shops along the highway and near the
Here is the view from near the gas station looking across toward the old train
station and museum.
This part of Tennessee saw military operations during the Civil War, much the
same as my home town of Dalton, Georgia.
In an era when railroad passenger travel was common, the main street in a town
almost always was near the railroad station, just as it is here in Cowan, Tennessee.
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