Haswell: Low-Tech Town

Tiny Colorado town lends name to latest Intel chip.

“Honored” and a bit surprised is how the mayor of Haswell, Colo., population 68, feels about the codename for Intel’s 4th generation Core processor being a namesake for her town.

Haswell Colorado namesake Intel Haswell chip

With a single worker, the largest employer in the town of Haswell, Colo. is the U.S. post office, a facility "we had to fight tooth and nail to keep," according to former mayor Pam Lessenden. Photo courtesy of Alan Robinson

“This is a very unexpected honor. I’d say only one-third of us have computers,” said Michelle Nelson about the residents of rural Haswell, located 132 miles southeast of Denver. Nelson, elected to the town’s top post in 2010, is a home-based professional agronomist who owns an HP Intel Core i3 laptop. So does her husband, Mark, a heavy equipment operator for Kiowa County, Colo. “We have a lot of senior citizens who aren’t comfortable with that type of technology.”

Nelson’s mayoral predecessor, Pam Lessenden, is among the majority of Haswellians who don’t own a computer; she stays connected with her Samsung Galaxy Nexus, and if she ever needs a computer, there’s one in the community center “that just got wireless.” As for TV, Lessenden said that since the FCC required stations to convert to digital in 2009, the townsfolk watch more DVDs than broadcast programming. Just part of the charm of a town located “in the middle of nowhere,” according to the former mayor.

Haswell was platted in 1908 as a cattle stop along the Missouri Pacific Railroad line. While there’s no debate on how “Haswell” became the internal codename of an Intel microarchitecture, some folks believe that their town is named after a prominent man of the era while others say the name came from the fact that the old railroad section house “has a well.”

The current mayor, whose in-laws are early settlers, describes her town as “a good place to raise kids where everyone knows everyone and we all care about each other.” Calling Haswell small would be an understatement by Nelson’s definition. The town’s largest employer is the U.S. post office with one worker. (The gas station has two, “but that doesn’t count because they’re of the family that owns it,” she said.) As for the community center, the building was once a school. Since Haswell Elementary closed in 1992, the town’s children have been bussed 22 miles to and from Eads, a larger city to the east.

“Our school kids are always the first ones on and the last ones off,” Lessenden said.

The biggest point of interest in the town is also the littlest. Measuring 12 feet by 14 feet, Haswell claims to have the smallest jail in the country. “That’s what brings people in,” Lessenden said. “That and we’re on the main bicycle route. [U.S.] 96 isn’t as populated as 50 and 287. In the summer they come to and from California, give our gas station a lot of business and sleep in the park overnight. They’re really nice people.”

As for a prominent processor being a namesake for humble Haswell, Lessenden had this to say: “It’s pretty exciting. I think what’s going to happen is people will Google it and then come out of their way to come here, like they do already to see the nation’s smallest jail.”

Haswell: Low-Tech Town

Tiny Colorado town lends name to latest Intel chip.

“Honored” and a bit surprised is how the mayor of Haswell, Colo., population 68, feels about the codename for Intel’s 4th generation Core processor being a namesake for her town.

Haswell Colorado namesake Intel Haswell chip

With a single worker, the largest employer in the town of Haswell, Colo. is the U.S. post office, a facility "we had to fight tooth and nail to keep," according to former mayor Pam Lessenden. Photo courtesy of Alan Robinson

“This is a very unexpected honor. I’d say only one-third of us have computers,” said Michelle Nelson about the residents of rural Haswell, located 132 miles southeast of Denver. Nelson, elected to the town’s top post in 2010, is a home-based professional agronomist who owns an HP Intel Core i3 laptop. So does her husband, Mark, a heavy equipment operator for Kiowa County, Colo. “We have a lot of senior citizens who aren’t comfortable with that type of technology.”

Nelson’s mayoral predecessor, Pam Lessenden, is among the majority of Haswellians who don’t own a computer; she stays connected with her Samsung Galaxy Nexus, and if she ever needs a computer, there’s one in the community center “that just got wireless.” As for TV, Lessenden said that since the FCC required stations to convert to digital in 2009, the townsfolk watch more DVDs than broadcast programming. Just part of the charm of a town located “in the middle of nowhere,” according to the former mayor.

Haswell was platted in 1908 as a cattle stop along the Missouri Pacific Railroad line. While there’s no debate on how “Haswell” became the internal codename of an Intel microarchitecture, some folks believe that their town is named after a prominent man of the era while others say the name came from the fact that the old railroad section house “has a well.”

The current mayor, whose in-laws are early settlers, describes her town as “a good place to raise kids where everyone knows everyone and we all care about each other.” Calling Haswell small would be an understatement by Nelson’s definition. The town’s largest employer is the U.S. post office with one worker. (The gas station has two, “but that doesn’t count because they’re of the family that owns it,” she said.) As for the community center, the building was once a school. Since Haswell Elementary closed in 1992, the town’s children have been bussed 22 miles to and from Eads, a larger city to the east.

“Our school kids are always the first ones on and the last ones off,” Lessenden said.

The biggest point of interest in the town is also the littlest. Measuring 12 feet by 14 feet, Haswell claims to have the smallest jail in the country. “That’s what brings people in,” Lessenden said. “That and we’re on the main bicycle route. [U.S.] 96 isn’t as populated as 50 and 287. In the summer they come to and from California, give our gas station a lot of business and sleep in the park overnight. They’re really nice people.”

As for a prominent processor being a namesake for humble Haswell, Lessenden had this to say: “It’s pretty exciting. I think what’s going to happen is people will Google it and then come out of their way to come here, like they do already to see the nation’s smallest jail.”