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Dessert Oasis: 1940

Dessert Oasis: 1940

June 1940. "Cafe. Pie Town, New Mexico." Sporting the biggest accent west of the Mississippi. Medium format negative by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


I'll take that pie to go, please

Puddy1's comment about businesses shutting down caused me to search for a news story I thought I remembered about a series of unsolved murders in Pie Town, but those were in nearby Quemado. However, I also found a very good interview with the owner of the now for sale Pie-O-Neer, just three months before it closed.

The Wind Turbine is Not Working

The rope wrapped around the propeller and the weather vane arm will prevent the turbine from spinning.

This is Why They Have to Clean the Windows

I discovered Shorpy in 2009 so this older Pie Town post ( was a couple of years before that. I ran across the photo somewhere else and looked back to see if it had been on Shorpy -- and there it was. Things just look so different in Kodachrome color!

6-volt wind turbine

These were marketed by radio manufacturers for the sole purpose of selling farm-type radios, with the heater circuit powered by the wind turbine, and a dry cell for the B battery. They could also handle one or two light bulbs if the wind was blowing hard enough. They were typically mounted on rooftops, because the line losses were too high if mounted on a tower. Many users later upgraded to 32-volt machines. The Zenith turbines were made by Winco, and I'm not sure who made the RCA turbines.

Edit: In response to bobstothfang's comment, all of the early wind turbines had some mechanical means of pulling the axis of the turbine out of parallel with the wind. You would want to do this during storms, or when you needed to shut down the system for maintenance. The early turbines also had centrifugally-activated mechanical governors, to prevent the turbine from exceeding its design speed during periods of high winds or low electrical demand. Modern turbines have dispensed with this, using electronic governors to divert excess power to a "dump load", which is an electric heater.


The Pie Town Cafe closed December of last year. The Pie-O-Neer closed June 15, but it's for sale if you want to own a pie shop in the middle of nowhere.

6 ounce Coke

I remember the 5 cent ice-cold 6 oz. glass-bottled Cokes. Made with cane sugar. I can still get them at my local market (made in Mexico) but they're no longer 6 ounces, or 5 cents.

Just closing

I saw a comment on one of the RV blogs that this family-run pie shop is just about to close forever.


The biggest accent, and the cleanest windows, too.

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