Have you seen Sheridan Wyoming’s famous “Hamburger Louie” statue?
I haven’t spent a lot of time in Sheridan, Wyoming.
So the fact that I didn’t know the “Hamburger Louie” statue located in downtown Sheridan was not a huge surprise.
But, being the Wyoming history buff that I am, I had to watch the video (I included it at the end of the article) that told the story behind the life-size statue of a man holding a burger, with pickles in one hand and a spatula in the other.
And, I’m so glad I did, because true to form, the truth was more interesting than anything I could have found on my own.
“Hamburger Louie” is actually Zarif Khan who immigrated to the United States in 1907 from Pakistan. He lived and worked in several other places before eventually moving to Wyoming and a small town called Sheridan at the foot of the Big Horn Mountains.
Khan was an entrepreneur and had a cart that he pushed around the streets as he sold hot foods like burgers and tamales.
Eventually he opened a restaurant where he also added chili to the menu.
He was known throughout Wyoming for his delicious burgers, and one story even tells how a group of ranch workers traveled over 70 miles each Saturday to eat their food.
Kahn was known for his anti-racist views, including his willingness to allow Native Americans to eat in his restaurant.
Kahn was not only a successful business owner, but also a well-known philanthropist.
Although the city never seemed to understand that he was Pakistani (he was often described in the newspaper and several times described as being from Greece or Turkey), Kahn was very proud of his heritage.
He often went home and eventually came home with a wife, they had six children together.
During one of his trips to Pakistan, Khan was murdered by a jealous relative, but his legacy lives on.
Kahn and three generations of his family continue to live in Wyoming and own many successful businesses throughout the state.
It is because of the generous spirit of “Hamburger Louie” and his dedication to Wyoming, that this statue was created and placed in Sheridan.
You can learn more about “Hamburger Louie” and hear his family and Sheridan community members share stories about him in this video.
Wyoming at the turn of the century through the eyes of Lora Webb Nichols
Nichols received his first camera in 1899 at the age of 16. His first photographs are those of his family and friends, as well as self-portraits and landscapes of the land surrounding the town of Encampment.
10 of the most famous Wyomingites in history
We asked our listeners to tell us who they think is the most famous Wyomingite in history, here are the top 10 picks. NOTE: To be a Wyomingite you do NOT need to be born here, but you must have lived here for at least a year.