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During the 1930s and '40s, it was said that the best pie in New Mexico was served at a little café in Pie Town, a homesteading community just west of the Continental Divide. Cowboys on cattle drives and tourists heading to California spread stories of the legendary pies. Thanks to a pair of prospering enterprises in town (and the annual Pie Festival), the tradition of great pie in this part of the world is alive and well.
Pie Town's reputation can be traced to 1922 when World War I veteran Clyde Norman came from Texas and filed a mining claim on the Hound Pup Lode. Gold mining didn't go as well as he'd hoped, but he began selling kerosene and gasoline, as well as doughnuts he'd brought from Magdalena in his Model T. Eventually he learned to bake pies with dried apples, which were an immediate success. Spanish-American War veteran Harmon L. Craig, who made a great sourdough, arrived in 1923 or '24, and the two went into partnership. The post office granted the place the name Pie Town in 1927.
Craig bought Norman out in 1932. He ran the mercantile end while his wife, Theodora Baugh, and her two daughters took over the pie baking. Nowadays aficionados can dig in at the annual Pie Festival (www.pietowncouncil.com), held on the second weekend in September, with pie-eating and pie-baking contests, horned toad races, buckboard rides, and horseshoes.
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