The Village of Cochrane’s settlement was initiated by the railroad in 1885.    The tracks provided transport of grains for area farmers.  The first depot was built on land owned by Peter Schnugg, giving us our original name of St. Petersburg.  After a railroad conductor was injured here, the town was renamed Cochrane in his honor.

In 1886, John R. Hofer built the first building in Cochrane, a hotel.  That same year, the Rohrer Brothers built side by side buildings across the street.  G.M. Rohrer had the mercantile store and J.L. Rohrer operated a hardware, furniture, and undertaking business.  Both stores burned after being struck by lightning in 1911.  The stores were rebuilt.  Many other businesses were once part of the Village.  A livery stable was built to house horses, which were used to haul cream, coal, produce, and livestock.


With the railroad coming thru, Cochrane became a thriving area and many homes and businesses were built.  Mail and passenger service were brought to the area.  Machinery, coal, dry goods, and other items could now be shipped by rail all year long.  They no longer depended on supplies coming by boat or wagon.

Many different businesses were built up.  A pickle factory, basket factory, lumberyard, meat market, gas station, black smith shop, taverns, and many more.  The post office was built in 1887.  The first Postmaster was J.H. Rohrer.  A group of businessmen started the first bank, known as the Hofer Bank.  A newspaper was created in 1914 and was printed in German.  The Coop Creamery was built in 1903, with the first steam powered churn.  The churned butter was made from cream brought in large cans by the local farmers.


The area had many small dairy farms.  In 1905 the Cochrane Coop Telephone Company was founded.  The first switch board was located in the home of the Schlosttein family.  The Village also had four churches, built by donations, donated labor and material from area residents.  The churches were a very important part of the Village.  The largest and only industry in Cochrane, LaCrosse Milling Company, was established in 1946.

Cochrane was originally a part of Belvidere Township.  In a push to provide fire protection for a rapidly growing community, town officials prompted the official incorporation of the Village of Cochrane in 1910.  The Village is governed by a board of 6 trustees and the Village President.  They meet on a monthly basis and work with the employees to provide the services needed by our citizens.

In 1912 the Village of Cochrane built its first water reservoir, at a cost of $7,000, to provide fire protection to the community.  In following years, a simple network of distribution piping and hydrants followed.  The original water reservoir was demolished and abandoned in 2000 and a new 90 foot high glass fused steel standpipe was erected.

Cochrane operates a lagoon sewer system that was originally built in 1982.  In 2011, at a cost of $1.1 million dollars, the lagoon went through a rehabilitation process that included replacing all process piping and manholes.  Our two 3.6 acre lagoons were excavated to make them one foot deeper, extend our holding time to operate a fill and drain system, and lined with a PVC liner.  Mag meters and a sampler were installed to provide better recording of our flows and sampling.  A submersible pump was also installed in the effluent manhole to speed the discharge rate to our seepage cells.

Cochrane today is a very unique small town with historical buildings and a friendly atmosphere. If you are searching for a quiet, peaceful area to visit or move to, the Village of Cochrane is your place.  You are welcome to visit anytime!