Cookstown Area Plan 2010
Cookstown, the principal administrative and commercial centre for the District, is set in a drumlin landscape close to the Ballinderry River and is dominated by Slieve Gallion and the Sperrins to the north.
The town takes its name from its founder, Dr Allen Cooke, who developed a small settlement of ten houses in the northern part of the town (Oldtown Road) in 1622. These original buildings were destroyed during the rebellion of 1641, although further settlement continued over the 17th Century. However, it was not until the mid 18th Century that the town developed its distinctive grid like pattern. This can be attributed to William Stewart of Killymoon, who aimed to create a tree-lined avenue to rival those he had seen in Dublin. The main street, that developed subsequently to the south of the old town, is nearly 40 metres wide and runs in a straight line for two kilometres making it one of the longest and widest main streets in any of Ireland's market towns.
In addition to its function as a market town for the surrounding agricultural area, Cookstown also developed an industrial base linked to the linen mills that developed along the Ballinderry River. Further economic development took place during the 19th Century, which was facilitated by the construction of the railways. Although the mills and railways have long ceased, Cookstown still remains an important economic and employment centre.
Cookstown is a regional town with an estimated population of 10,566 (2001 Census). The Regional Development Strategy identifies the town as a main hub that will continue to provide a range of industrial, commercial, health, education and community services. The town will also continue to provide significant opportunities for residential growth.