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The story of Hot Tamale Jim in Havre


September 27, 2019

Courtesy of Don Greytak

Rose and Jim Shawlee in front of their cafe.

By Keith J. Doll

Havre/Hill County Historic Preservation Commission

Jim Shawlee was born in Afghanistan on July 8, 1877. He came to America from Afghanistan in 1905, then to Havre in 1907. He rented a place to stay on the south side of First Street between First and Second Avenues and started selling his tamales. At first he carried them in a basket, then he sold them out of a tamale wagon. Jim put his business east of the Grand Hotel, it would seat up to 10 people.

In 1913, Charles S. Hanson put a café in the Edward Burke Building at 311 First Street and called it the Grill Café. Tod...

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