There really is a place that’s unofficially called “Cowtown” and it’s right here within the city limits of MY Town. It’s about the only part of Hastings that I haven’t shown you over and over and over. Maybe that’s because, deep down, I fear Cowtown. It’s considered the bad side of town.
“The wrong side of the tracks” is not just a cliché in MY Town. Within the first few weeks after I moved here back in 1985 I heard about Cowtown.
“Why do they call it Cowtown?” I asked.
“Because after Hastings was incorporated as a city, the east side remained steadfastly rural and cows still roamed the streets.”
“That’s interesting,” was my reply, as well as I can remember it. “I’ll have to check it out.”
“Just watch out for the ruffians.”
There is only one road leading to Cowtown–East 2nd Street–which is the main street through downtown Hastings. East 2nd Street crosses the railroad tracks and not too long ago, that’s where the pavement ended. And the houses and yards were a little shabbier and there really were ruffians there at the time. The ruffians were notorious for their heavy drinking, fist-fighting skills and trouble with the police. Many of them were banned from the taverns over on the civilized side of Hastings.
I’ve come to know some of the so-called ruffians, and while I don’t dispute the drinking and fighting and all that stuff, I can also say they can be the most generous people I’ve ever known. They are the first to help with sandbagging efforts during Mississippi River flood seasons, and they routinely host fish fries, sausage feeds, soup lines, and meat raffles to benefit families with sick and dying members.
Nowadays, the streets of Cowtown are paved, most of the property looks like the rest of Hastings, and the ruffians have settled down as we all do with age. Let’s have a little look at it, shall we?
Well, that’s about all there is in Cowtown. There are no stores of any kind on that side of town. I can’t even buy a decorative grill ornament for my car any more. So I had to make my official purchase back on the Hastings side of town. I’ll show you my purchase after one more picture from my Cowtown adventure. It’s all about the railroad tracks.
It really is all about the train tracks. One minute you’re in Hastings, and the next you’re in Cowtown. Sometimes train tracks are all that separate us, and sometimes it’s those damn politicians.