East of Alamogordo, along US Highway 82, the high desert transforms into a mountain forest remarkably quickly. Thousands come from around the area to escape the summer heat, and to partake in winter activities. Welcoming these visitors, year after year, is a large statue of an apple farmer, who himself is an anthropomorphic apple. Clad in overalls and wearing a cheerful smile, he stands as the mascot of a classic vintage emporium: the Old Apple Barn.
The barn was originally built in 1941, and was at the time used for apple processing. It was eventually purchased by Bill and Beverly Niffenegger, who intended to use the old barn to host a computer graphics school.
When that idea didn’t take off, they opened a small store within, hoping the business would attract a new buyer. Inside was every manner of apple products, including fudge, ice cream, pies, and their very own brand of apple butter. As it turns out, this new business model was very sustainable, and the Niffeneggers decided to stay put.
While the Apple Boy statue may seem like a classic 20th-century roadside attraction, its origins are surprisingly recent. Crafted by Bill Niffenegger himself in 2010, the statue stands over 12 feet tall, weighing a substantial 500 pounds.
Bill initially meant to create an Apple Man, but Beverly decided to make him cuter, in part to help discourage vandals. Now, as the Niffeneggers prepare for retirement, the Old Apple Barn is once again on the market. However, reassuringly, plans are in place to ensure its continued operation under new ownership.