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Feb. 2005 issue "Smithsonian" magazine features "Pietown"

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Feb. 2005 issue "Smithsonian" magazine features "Pietown"

Jean Rice (View posts)
Posted: 1107385315000
Classification: Biography
Surnames: Painter, McKee, Stagg, Caudill, Lee, Norman, Whinery
FYI, the above issue has a several page story (with photos) of Pietown, west-central NM, in Catron Co. During the 1930s and earoy 1940s, Pie Town drew visitors to its annual autumn fair wit a orodeo, 4-H exhibits and, of course, pies. Names in text or captioned photos include: Faro and Doris CAUDILL, daughter Josie; Jack WHINERY family; Kenneth Earl "Pop" McKEE (who still lives there), with his mountain man's untrimmed white beard and piercing blue eyes. His father, Roy McKEE lies buried in the town cemetery, along with his wife, Maudie Bell. In 1937, they had driven a John Deere tractor from O'Donnell, TX, pulling a wagon with most of the family possessions Mrs. Bill STAGG is shown with her quilt featuring birds of all 48 states. Peggy and Mike RAWL moved to Pie Town from MD with son Andy in 1999 and are owners/operators of the Daily Pie Cafe. There is a book about the CAUDILLs , "Pie Town Woman," by Joan MYERS, a NM author. The Alegres Electric Co. is presently owned by Judy and Bob MYERS, not sure if there is a connection to the author. Brad BEAUCHAMP, a sculptor and transplant from San Diego, CA, lives nearby. There is a nice photo of the Pie Town Baptist Church and several older photos. Pie Town was built up, principally, by Dust Bowlers of the mid-and late 1930s. They were refugees of busted dreams in OK and West TX. In the 1920s a mn named NORMAN filed a mining claim and opened a general store and enjoyed baking pies. They were such a hit that everybody began calling the crossroads Pie Town. Around 1927, the locals petitioned for a post office. In the mid-1930's about 250 families lived in the surrounding area.

An old-timer, widower, Paul PAINTER, lives 24 miles from Pie Town off the main road. He is always in Pie Town with his pickup, at 11 a.m. six days a week, spends hours in the cafe.

Most of these photos were taken by Russell LEE, of Dallas, TX, who came to Pie Town during the Depression as part of an FSA project for the U.S. Dept. Agriculture. LEE died in 1986. One of the photos circa 1940 showed a general merchandise store that appears to read CRAIG & KEELE, another store has a sign that reads J. B. WYCHE's Studio of Taxidermy. Apparently there are 600 or more old images of Pie Town in the archives of the Library of Congress - "portraying this little clot of high-mountain-desert NM humanity in all its redemptive, communal, hard-won glory." Another book to look for is "Bound for Glory, America in Color" 1939-43, published circa 2004.
SubjectAuthorDate Posted
Jean Rice 1107385315000 
anneepenny 1128831220000 
Diana Crippen 1158991058000 
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