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Cowan, Tennessee
Businesses along Tennessee Avenue
Businesses along Tennessee Avenue
Location of Cowan in Franklin County, Tennessee.
Location of Cowan in Franklin County, Tennessee.
Country United States
State Tennessee
County Franklin
 • Total 2.08 sq mi (5.38 km2)
 • Land 2.08 sq mi (5.38 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
974 ft (297 m)
 • Total 1,737
 • Estimate 
 • Density 797.88/sq mi (308.08/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 931
FIPS code 47-17700
GNIS feature ID 1306151

Cowan is a city in Franklin County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 1,737 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Tullahoma, Tennessee Micropolitan Statistical Area.


The earliest settlers arrived in the Cowan area in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The home of one such settler, William Russell, served as the Franklin County Courthouse until the establishment of Winchester in 1810. The town was named for Dr. James Benjamin Cowan, a Civil War-era doctor whose family had lived in the area since the early 1800s.

Cowan Railroad Museum

The town of Cowan dates from the mid-19th century and developed mostly as a railroad town. It was the site where several branch lines met the main Nashville to Chattanooga trunk of the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railway which ran through the important Cowan Tunnel. As the last stop before the uphill climb onto the nearby Cumberland Plateau, pusher engines to assist trains in making the steep ascent were based there, and are still in use today.

The town's economy declined with the importance of the railroad after United States Highway 41A was built in the 1940s. The old passenger depot, built in 1904, was restored as a museum, and is a focal point of the downtown area.


Cowan is located at 35°10′0″N 86°0′43″W / 35.16667°N 86.01194°W / 35.16667; -86.01194 (35.166668, -86.011839). The city is situated at the western base of the Cumberland Plateau, and is concentrated around the point where U.S. Route 41A crosses the CSX railroad tracks. The edge of the Plateau juts out in a series of ridges creating several small valleys in the area, including Hawkins Cove to the northeast and Keith Cove to the south. Cowan is drained by Boiling Fork Creek, a tributary of the Elk River.

US 41A (Cumberland Street) is the primary road in Cowan, connecting the city with Winchester and the Tims Ford Lake area to the west. To the east of Cowan, US 41A ascends nearly 1,000 feet (300 m) to the top of the Cumberland Plateau, where it passes through Sewanee and Monteagle.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.0 square miles (5.2 km2), all land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 222
1890 624 181.1%
1930 1,367
1940 1,461 6.9%
1950 1,835 25.6%
1960 1,979 7.8%
1970 1,772 −10.5%
1980 1,790 1.0%
1990 1,738 −2.9%
2000 1,770 1.8%
2010 1,737 −1.9%
2019 (est.) 1,658 −4.5%

2020 census

Cowan racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 1,475 83.85%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 144 8.19%
Native American 3 0.17%
Asian 3 0.17%
Other/Mixed 92 5.23%
Hispanic or Latino 42 2.39%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 1,759 people, 624 households, and 341 families residing in the city.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Cowan (Tennessee) para niños

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