Chicken of Chicken, Alaska – Chicken, Alaska - Atlas Obscura

Chicken of Chicken, Alaska

Chicken, Alaska

A giant poultry statue immortalizes one of Alaska's more humorous town names. 


This huge metal chicken towers over the main road through Chicken, Alaska, one of the few surviving gold rush towns in the state. It’s a sight you can’t miss within a small town with a name you surely won’t forget.

The town of Chicken was named during the early days of developing Alaskan roadmaps. When a traveling cartographer asked the miners who had flocked to the town for gold what its name was, they chose Ptarmigan, opting to name their little hub after the type of bird they frequently spotted in the area.

But they soon ran into a problem—no one could actually agree on how to spell “ptarmigan.” So as not to ruffle the feathers of any future map readers with a fowl spelling error, the residents decided to call the town “Chicken” instead because the two birds look a bit similar and the word was easy to spell.

The tiny town—its population dips down into the single digits in the winter—celebrates its connection with the popular farm animal. Chicken’s humorous naming story is immortalized by the giant metal chicken sculpture off the main road (near the Pedro Dredge). There are other chicken decorations within the small downtown area, too, each one a charming addition to still-active mining community.

Know Before You Go

The statue and dredge are easily accessible via the main road. Parking is free.

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