Bowden is located on Highway 2 about 20 minutes south of Red Deer. The first homesteaders to the Bowden area arrived between 1875 and 1880. Prior to 1885, settlers who had moved to the Bowden district were primarily ranchers. After 1885, the settlers focused on mixed farming. Crops were produced such as hay, oats, wheat and barley.
In 1891, the Edmonton-Calgary branch of the Canadian Pacific Railway was completed to Bowden. With the arrival of the railroad came a large number of settlers who began planning business establishments and secured property close to the railroad.
The earliest businesses included a general store, creamery and a blacksmith shop. Although, there were problems between the railway company and the landowners. The railway failed to reach an agreement with the landowners on the purchase price of the property. It was then decided to locate the new townsite 11/2 miles north of the existing site on property owned by the railroad. This change in location forced all of the business establishments to move to the new site.