Pie Town, New Mexico sits on the Great Divide at around 8,000 feet. Maybe you live closer to Sandwich, Mass.; Burnt Corn, Alabama; Cookietown, Oklahoma; or Hot Coffee, Mississippi. These are all intriguing, but I’ll start close to home.
Dust Bowlers came to Pie Town and built it into a spot on the map during the 1930’s. I suppose the name had something to do with its allure in a time of strict austerity. Legend has it that the name came from the first settler, Clyde Norman, a WWI veteran. He staked a mine claim there in the 1920’s, but more importantly loved making dried apple pies (dried? I know…I don’t get it either).
The depression era history of Pie Town was well captured by Russell Lee in the 1930’s. He came to capture the impacts of the Great Depression on rural America as a photographer with the Farm Security Administration. Since then, the pictures he took have been seen by people across the country. The people of Pie Town have been put on display many times in books and museums.
Next time you see one of those pictures from that era; the picture of the gaunt woman with severe eyes, or a child standing in a field barefoot, that might very well be a resident of Pie Town, New Mexico.