Horse Shoe Cafe 1940s map Benson, AZ

horse shoe cafe

Originally a diner the size of a railroad car, Bostic and Mable Williams bought this cafe in 1937 for $450. It was soon purchased by Lorene Waley’s family, who ran the restaurant right up until the last several years. This building dates to the 1940s. As it was being built, several local ranchers burned their brands with a running iron into three center posts in the dining room. A running iron was a tool used by cattle rustlers to alter brands so they could steal the steers.

The juke boxes and the neon horseshoe on the ceiling date to the 1940s. The neon sign with a horse head out front has been a focal point of the town since the end of World War II. According to a local patron, the upstairs living area, now empty, is haunted by the previous owners who once lived upstairs. The ghost turns the lights on and off in the restaurant  randomly, and doors open and close on their own. Some employees have even quit their jobs because of the haunting.

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References: The thesis of Peter B. Wilharm (1985), The Cococino Weekly Sun, Arizona Weekly Sun,