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Big Chicken

A well-known landmark brimming with southern wit and charm. At the junction of Cobb Parkway and Roswell Road, “The Big Chicken” is a well-known Marietta icon that towers over a KFC restaurant. It’s massive steel, 56-foot-tall (17-meter) structure that resembles a chicken with moving eyes and a beak rising from the building’s top. It is one of the city’s most well-known KFC locations. Stanley R. “Tubby” Davis built the 56-foot-tall bird, which was first erected in 1963 as Johnny Reb’s Chick-Chuck-‘N’-Shake restaurant. Davis wanted something as high as possible to draw in consumers. The chicken was built as an abstraction for practicality and economic reasons — it’s just a giant corrugated steel flange painted red. The novelty building was planned by Hubert Puckett, a Georgia Tech student of architecture, and manufactured by Atlantic Steel in neighboring Atlanta. Of course, there were extras like rolling eyes, a beak that opened and closed, and a comb that waved in the air. However, every window in the restaurant shattered when the motor powering these features was initially switched on. The chicken became a ridiculous, unmoving behemoth because no one could find out how to lessen the vibrations. Davis eventually sold it to his brother in 1974, who turned it into a KFC franchise. Storm winds destroyed the structure in January 1993, and instead of tearing it down, KFC was obliged to re-erect it because of public protest. Pilots who used the Big Chicken as a reference point when approaching Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Dobbins Air Reserve Base were among those who objected to it being demolished. In 2017, the Big Chicken received another $2 million upgrade, the restaurant’s inside historical displays were refurbished, and a micro-transmitter was installed, allowing the Chicken to “talk” to visitors. Engineers have finally found out how to make the new Chicken’s animated eyeballs roll without wrecking the restaurant. Also gave the chain’s newest look and a gift store, equating it to other famous landmarks around the world such as Big Ben and the Eiffel Tower. Souvenirs, such as board games and T-shirts, are available for purchase. A board game featuring the Big Chicken and other local attractions was produced in 1985 as part of a campaign for the city of Marietta. The Big Chicken has also appeared in the comic strip Zippy the Pinhead as part of cartoonist Bill Griffith’s preoccupation with roadside symbols, and as a promotional card in Sim City: The Card Game. The Big Chicken is also frequently used as a navigational marker. “Make a [turn] at the Big Chicken,” or “it’s approximately x miles past the Big Chicken,” are common phrases used by locals.

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