Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Still great pies in Pie Town, New Mexico!

Clyde Norman came to this area in 1922 to open up a mine. To keep his mining efforts alive, Clyde opened up a gas station to supplement his income. Clyde was a great pie maker and started to sell his pies out of the gas station business. His pies became so popular with the customers many of the locals who lived in the area referred to his stop as “Pie Town’. Clyde teamed up with a local cowboy, Harmon Craig, in 1923. Harmon added his famous chili to the menu and now the gas station was also a restaurant. Clyde sold out his part of the business to Harmon in 1924. Harmon’s wife and daughters kept the pies famous and the customers kept coming. In 1927, a post office was added and “Pie Town” became an official town. The town still exists and is located about 160 miles southwest of Albuquerque. The town is small but you can still get a great piece of pie. Every Semptember, the citizens celebrate the “Annual Pie Town Festival”.
Photo courtesy of Library of Congress

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Toad Suck, Arkansas - It does exist, REALLY!

Located on the Arkansas River, Toad Suck claims one of the most unique legends. Way back when, this is where the river captains and their crews chose to relax. Along with the river traffic came many questionable characters. Drinking was often the recreation for both the staff of the river industry and the shady people who hung out in this area. Early settlers in this area observed the excessive drinking going on in this area and named the drinking patrons as “Toad Sucks”. They exclaimed that “these people sucked on their whiskey and swelled up like toads”! The area became known as “Toad Suck”. Today, a state park is nearby and many of the locals in the area come here during weekends to picnic and go fishing. You will also find a local convenience store nearby with some very unique “Toad Suck” merchandise!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Marked Tree, Arkansas

In 1883, the railroad built a track through this area. The community was known as “Edwards” in honor of Jonathan Edwards, head of the railroad crew. When Edwards and the railroad crew moved on,left with the train, he told the citizens to rename the town. The people decided on “Marked Tree” because of a famous legend. The legend starts with the Indians who lived here before the white man. The Osage and Cherokee Indians marked a giant oak tree in this area for transportation purposes to navigate up and down the nearby rivers. In the early 1800’s, the infamous Murrell Outlaw Gang marked the same tree with an “M” for rendezvous purposes. So in 1883, the town was named after this giant oak tree. Later in 1890, the giant tree was swept away by a huge flood that devastated the area. However, in 1979 during a construction project a well preserved giant oak tree was excavated which was believed to be the famous tree. The town also claims to be the only community in the world with the name “Marked Tree” and the only town where two rivers run in different directions! Just in case you are curious, the two rivers are the Saint Francis and the Little. I have been here and the rivers actually run in opposite directions.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

King of Prussia, Pennsylvania

There are a lot of legends surrounding this name. The town was originally known as Reeseville. Some say the town was named for King Frederick of Prussia who was a supporter for the American Colonies during the Revolutionary War. Another legend says a local tavern and inn owner from Reeseville by the name of Jimmy Berry named the town. During the Revolutionary War, Berry was a British sympathizer but a shrewd businessman. When Berry heard there were wealthy Prussian troops with George Washington at Valley Forge, he hung a “King of Prussia” sign out on his establishment welcoming the Prussians to come and spend their money with him. The innn became known as the King of Prussia Inn located in Reeseville. Later, early surveyors mistakenly looked at the large sign on the inn and recorded “King of Prussia” as the name of the town instead of Reeseville.
Photo courtesy of Library of Congress