CLC RIDE #6: The Ride to Eternal Glory Leads Through Cowtown

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.

My bike is in Cowtown. Hastings is on the other side of those railroad tracks.

“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?

The dividing line, looking north toward the railroad bridge.

Looking south. Hastings on the right, Cowtown on the left.
This old stone building used to be a foundry. It was famous for making decorative grills for early 1900’s automobiles.

This domed house is famous throughout all of Cowtown.
Cows STILL roam Cowtown.
Another cow in the yard of a proud Cowtown resident.

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.

A train comin’ round the bend.
At the last minute, I went with a train song instead of a cow song.

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.

I forgot to take a picture of the chicken breasts I purchased on the way back from Cowtown. Here they are on the grill instead.

Hi. My name is Greg and I ride my bike a lot. That is to say, I ride my bike almost every day. I go on long rides and short rides. Sunny rides, cloudy rides, and rainy rides. I like commuting, errand-running, day-tripping, overnighting, and touring on my bike. I ride on city streets, highways, gravel, single track, and snow with equal enthusiasm. Sometimes I ride fast and sometimes I ride slow. I try to keep my feet on the pedals at stop lights and I do not dismount when I hop up on a curb. I have a roadie bike, a mountain bike and a touring bike. I try to accept any challenge a bike ride can throw at me without complaint. But I don't like bugs.

7 response to "CLC RIDE #6: The Ride to Eternal Glory Leads Through Cowtown"

    • By: gregblood Posted: March 25, 2020

      Wow, your Cowtown is definitely nicer than MY Cowtown. And Cowamarump makes it sound even better.

  1. By: NancyG Posted: March 25, 2020

    I sure enjoyed the tour of YOUR clean and tidy Cowtown ;’-). Love our stories too.

    • By: gregblood Posted: March 25, 2020

      Thank you, Nancy. I think I have more stories than I have anything else. I like telling them.

  2. By: Hopkins Escapades Posted: March 25, 2020

    That BBQ chicken looked like it was going to taste mighty fine. The bike ride was nice too. Was a little disappointed you didn’t get into a steely eyed stare down with the “ruffians” or maybe have to do a karate move into a headstand to show them you’re a formidable foe. Loved the cow mural and the cow statue in one person’s yard. And that rock building looks like it’s a nicely kept historical structure. Very cool place, even if it’s across the tracks in YOUR town. Cheers & happy pedaling.

    • By: gregblood Posted: March 25, 2020

      Let me just say, in all the modesty I can muster, those chicken breasts were absolutely delicious. So were the baked potatoes.

      As for the steely-eyed stare down with the ruffians, well I’ve done it. In a joking manner of course — a long time ago –when we were all pretty intoxicated. I didn’t get beat up or anything, but I learned beyond a shadow of a doubt that they were a lot tougher than I was.

  3. By: Suzanne Posted: March 26, 2020

    I really enjoyed your pictures of Cowtown and your narrative. Good music, too!

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