Pie Town in 1940
A glimpse of life on New Mexico’s Continental Divide a few generations back, by photographer Russell Lee, among the many treasures in by found in the Library of Congress’ 1930s-40s in Color (the Pie Town material begins on page 5; there’s also a trove of northern New Mexico photos starting on page 19). Here’s some background on Lee and Pie Town, courtesy of Smithsonian. My off-the-cuff observation is that Pie Town’s major change since the photos were taken is that it probably has fewer people, and certainly less business. Today it’s mostly known for the Continental Divide Trail, various sorts of people who don’t want anyone minding their business, and of course pie (the green chile apple deserves its reputation). It’s certainly an area I’m quite fond of, high country of dry grass and xeric ponderosa parks, bracketed by the loom of Alegres Mountain (New Mexico’s highest point on the Divide) to the south and broken, haunted-looking teeth of the Sawtooth Range the other way. I’ve yet to make any really satisfactory images of my own out there, though I keep trying. In any case, it’s damn hard to imagine migrating to that country from points east and trying to run a farm.