|• Total||2.0 sq mi (5.1 km2)|
|• Land||2.0 sq mi (5.1 km2)|
|• Water||0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)|
|Elevation||974 ft (297 m)|
|• Density||895.6/sq mi (345.8/km2)|
|Time zone||Central (CST) (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|GNIS feature ID||1306151|
Cowan was originally founded in 1808 but remained a minor settlement for several years.
Cowan's establishment as a place dates from the mid-19th century and developed mostly as a railroad town. It was the site where several branch lines met the main NC&StL Nashville to Chattanooga trunk. 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 was restored as a museum, and is a focal point of the downtown area.
Cowan is located at (35.166668, -86.011839).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.0 square miles (5.2 km2), all land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,770 people, 746 households, and 499 families residing in the city. The population density was 895.6 people per square mile (345.2/km²). There were 803 housing units at an average density of 406.3 per square mile (156.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 87.68% White, 9.44% African American, 0.17% Native American, 0.00% Asian, 0.79% from other races, and 1.92% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.36% of the population.
There were 746 households out of which 30.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.6% were married couples living together, 16.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.0% were non-families. 31.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.95.
In the city the population was spread out with 24.7% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 25.6% from 25 to 44, 22.7% from 45 to 64, and 18.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 86.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $27,448, and the median income for a family was $33,882. Males had a median income of $27,321 versus $20,909 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,352. About 13.4% of families and 16.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.8% of those under the age of 18 and 11.4% of those 65 and older.
- Cowan Railroad Museum
- Cowan Tourism
- Cowan Police Department
- Cowan at Franklin County Chamber of Commerce
- University of the South
- NC&StL Preservation Society