Reporting from Cosmos

I’m on the road today, giving me a chance to indulge one of my artful endeavors: guessing what a town is like by its water tower.

My city has boring water towers, which accurately reflects its personality. Others have some whimsy to them. There’s the bobber water tower around Pequot Lakes, the smiling “tin man” (at least I think it’s a tin man) in Freeport, the corn stalk near Rochester.

This one I saw today makes me think Cosmos, Minnesota must be a city of dreamers…


Only 582 people live in Cosmos. But this artwork makes me wonder if some of them long to live somewhere else, a distant galaxy, perhaps.

According to one of the city’s websites:

Daniel Hoyt, an early settler and surveyor, proposed the city name. Hoyt, who later was elected the first township clerk, suggested the name because it was a Greek word meaning order and harmony.

The town is 1 square mile and hosts the Cosmos Space Festival each year, which appears to consist of a medallion hunt, bean bag toss, volleyball, a beer garden, and a bowling tournament. After the parade, they crown Miss and Mr. Universe.

The town proclaims that about 3,000 cars a day pass through Cosmos on Highway 7. As near as I can tell, only one pulled over to research its history based on its water tower.

  • Xopher

    Someone told me the street names in Cosmos are named after celestial objects.

  • Aaron

    I remember driving through here on the way to Clara City for a gig, that was fun

  • X-t

    After extensive research, I’ve learned that the royalty are actually called Little Miss Universe and the Man in the Moon.

  • DGloria

    As someone that has never missed a Space Festival in my entire life, I can confirm that the royalty are called Little Miss Universe and the Man in the Moon. (They are children.) The streets are named after space-related things (Pegasus, Jupiter, Astro, etc.) There is no bowling alley in town so a bowling tourney seems likely, although there’s a huge softball tournament. There is also a kiddie parade, a regular parade and a tractor pull, and a TON of food related events.

    One strange fact…the pronunciation of Cosmos, MN is not like if you are talking about the cosmos. The “-mos” is pronounced “muhs” not “mohs”.

  • DGloria

    I just looked at the link and it says a wii bowling tournament. I guess an alley isn’t required for that one!

  • Paul (@princejvstin)

    I need to take a picture of that water tower to add to my collection!

  • Jim Shapiro

    Whadya wanna bet they’ve got Interstellar H30+ in that tank? Damned inscrutable Cosmonians. Lulling humanoids into thinking that they’re just creatively outlier hicks, setting us up for the invasion.

  • BJ

    This story is why I read newscut!