KFC mascot Colonel Sanders is buried beneath a bust designed by his daughter.

KFC's Colonel Sanders Is Buried in a Grave That Bears His Unmistakable Mug

KFC's Colonel Sanders Is Buried in a Grave That Bears His Unmistakable Mug

Atlas Obscura
Your Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders
May 15 2015 11:23 AM

Kentucky Fried Headstone: The Grave of Colonel Sanders

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Located in Kentucky's Cave Hill Cemetery, the grave of Colonel Harland Sanders, one of the most recognizable mascots in the entire world, honors the chicken man with a bust sculpted by his very own daughter. 

After working as a streetcar conductor, fireman, insurance salesman, and filling station operator, Harland Sanders was nearly destitute and living off a government pension when he finally decided to become a restaurateur at 62. After devising the concept of franchise restaurants, Sanders opened a small restaurant in Salt Lake City, Utah that would serve his "secret recipe" fried chicken that he had developed during his time serving it to travelers who passed through his filling stations. With his signature black glasses, slick white goatee, and long bow tie, the elderly entrepreneur soon became the face of his new business as he traveled the country selling his recipe to eateries like a door-to-door salesman.


His franchise plan exploded thanks to his aggressive sales strategy and grandfatherly charm. Within years, his Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants were in every state across the country, and Sanders became a household name. By the time of his death from leukemia in 1980 at the age of 90, KFC was one of the most famous brands in the world, with over 6,000 franchises in 48 countries.

The Colonel was buried in Kentucky as one of its favorite sons. His grave was marked by a bust that was created by his daughter Margaret. He was dressed in his iconic white suit and string bow tie, looking like his marketing representation even in death.

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Eric Grundhauser is a head writer and editor at Atlas Obscura. He lives in Brooklyn with his comic book collection. Follow him on Twitter.