The town is named after Matthew Henry Cochrane, a rancher who eventually became a politician. He established the place as the Cochrane Ranche in 1881 and turned it into a functioning village in 1903. It has its own volunteer fire department and a newspaper to boot.
Cochrane was eventually incorporated in 1971. It is with great advantage that it is located in the Bow River Valley, just at the base of Big Hill. This provides residents with an ample view of beautiful nature.