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. Chattanooga and St Louis Railroad also ran through the very important Cowan Tunnel. As the last stop before the uphill climb to the Cumblerland Plateau pusher engines are used to assist the trains in making the steep up hill climp and these are used even today. The town was named after a Civil War doctor Dr. James Benjamin Cowan. Farm land with housing developments are scattered throughout the area making Cowan a lovely place to live.
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