written by Lindsay McWilliams
Legend has it that the kitchen of Beckie’s Cafe is haunted by its previous bakers. When bizarre things happen in the restaurant—like a loaf of bread randomly flying off the counter—these happenings are blamed on the Beckelhymers, the family who built the cafe in 1926. Ed Beckelhymer was the original “Beckie,” whose nickname became the title of the cafe. But it was Beckie’s second wife Cecil, a woman with one glass eye, who made the place famous with her huckleberry pies.
Today, people come from all over the world to the town of Prospect, Oregon to taste the huckleberry pie from Beckie’s Cafe.
“We’ve had people from China come in and ask, ‘Is this where the pies are?’” said Kent Watson, the current owner of Beckie’s Cafe and the Union Creek Resort, located ten miles from Crater Lake National Park.
What makes these pies so special? Watson gives credit to the overall experience—a fresh, homemade slice of pie, made from a recipe passed down through generations of bakers, while sitting in a 90-year-old lodge. Or maybe it’s the pie itself, with a tart flavor and flaky crust.
“The huckleberry pie has that little bit of hook,” Watson said. “Once you eat it, you want more.”
Each individual pie requires three pounds of wild huckleberries, which adds up to 5,000 pounds per year. Many of these berries come from Huckleberry Mountain, just behind the resort. According to Watson, though, the huckleberries there cannot be picked commercially, as they’re an important source to Native people who still live nearby. Often, members of the Klamath Tribes pick the berries and sell them to Beckie’s Cafe.
Beckie’s is most famous for its traditional pies like the huckleberry, pecan or the “very berry,” a mix of several local berries. Nonetheless, the bakers have experimented with new recipes like German chocolate pie, cherry crumb pie and peanut butter pie. Beckie’s also serves home-style fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner, every day of the year including holidays and days when business is slowed by heavy snow.
Watson admits that some of the rich history of this business has been lost through the changes in ownership, which is why he loves when visitors come to the restaurant and tell anecdotes of what Beckie’s Cafe once was. Throughout his eight years of owning the place, he’s met relatives of the Beckelhymers and heard stories from old regulars. Many have suggested that the ghosts who haunt the cafe are Beckie’s two wives, Nettie and Cecil, arguing about how the kitchen should be run. Others have told more light-hearted tales.
“Apparently, they had a pet deer that came onto the premises and they’d feed him out the back door,” Watson said. “That was before health regulations.”