Big Chicken

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The Big Chicken
The Big Chicken 2021, Marietta, GA, US.jpg
The Big Chicken
Big Chicken is located in Metro Atlanta
Big Chicken
Location within Metro Atlanta
Big Chicken is located in Georgia
Big Chicken
Big Chicken (Georgia)
Big Chicken is located in the United States
Big Chicken
Big Chicken (the United States)
Interactive map showing the Big Chicken’s location
General information
LocationMarietta, Georgia
Address12 Cobb Pkwy N, Marietta GA 30062
Town or cityMarietta, Georgia
CountryUnited States
Coordinates33°57′05″N 84°31′13″W / 33.9514°N 84.5204°W / 33.9514; -84.5204Coordinates: 33°57′05″N 84°31′13″W / 33.9514°N 84.5204°W / 33.9514; -84.5204
Construction started1956, 1993
Completed1963 (The Big Chicken structure)
Renovated2017
ClientTubby Davis
Design and construction
Architect(s)Hubert Puckett

The Big Chicken is a KFC restaurant in Marietta, Georgia, which features a 56-foot-tall (17 m) steel-sided structure designed in the appearance of a chicken rising up from the top of the building. It is located at the intersection of Cobb Parkway (U.S. 41/Georgia 3) and Roswell Road (Georgia 120) and is a well-known landmark in the area.[1] Constructed in 1963, it was rebuilt following storm damage in 1993 and underwent a $2 million renovation project in 2017.

History[edit]

The Big Chicken in action.

The restaurant was built in 1963 at 12 Cobb Parkway, on the newly constructed stretch of Highway 41, the first divided highway in Cobb County. Taking advantage of the prime location on the new and quicker route for travelers on U.S. 41, Johnny Reb's Chick, Chuck and Shake owner S. R. "Tubby" Davis erected the 56-foot (17-meter) tall structure over his restaurant in 1963 as a method of advertising.[2] The novelty architecture was designed by Hubert Puckett, a Georgia Tech student of architecture, and fabricated by Atlantic Steel in nearby Atlanta (of which Marietta is a suburb). Davis later sold it to his brother, and it became a franchise of KFC.[3]

In January 1993, storm winds damaged the structure, and rather than tear it down KFC was forced by public outcry to re-erect the building.[2] Among those who complained about the Big Chicken being torn down were pilots, who used the building as a reference point when approaching Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Dobbins Air Reserve Base.[4] The new Big Chicken includes the original design of beak and eyes which move, although this time the vibrations which plagued the first structure (even to the point of breaking windows) have been eliminated.[5] Pieces of the original structure were sold to collectors as souvenirs. In early April 2006, the structure narrowly escaped a small eastward-moving nighttime tornado, which overturned a tractor-trailer at a Kmart across the street, and damaged another building nearby.

In early 2017 it was announced that The Big Chicken would undergo a twelve-week, $2 million renovation, incorporating the chain's newest design and a gift shop. The renovations began January 23, 2017.[6] The restaurant reopened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 11, 2017.[7]

Culture[edit]

The Big Chicken Beatles Band Glover Park Concert 2021

The Big Chicken has become one of the most well-recognized landmarks in Marietta, and has an established history of impacting the local culture of the area.[8] Inside the building exists a gift shop selling souvenirs emblazoned with the monument and holding it comparable to other landmarks worldwide such as Big Ben and the Eiffel Tower. A board game featuring the Big Chicken and other local landmarks was produced in 1985 as part of a promotion for the city of Marietta. There is a barbershop-style singing group called the Big Chicken Chorus, formed in 1986, which gives concerts throughout the year.[9][10] There is also a Marietta-based band called The Big Chicken Beatles Band which performs often at town activities.[11][12][13] The Big Chicken was also featured on a promotional card in Sim City: The Card Game, and has appeared in the comic strip Zippy the Pinhead as a part of artist Bill Griffith's fascination with roadside icons.

The Big Chicken is also commonly used as a landmark for driving directions. Locals will often include "make a [turn] at the Big Chicken", or "it's about x miles past the Big Chicken".[8] This is referenced in music video game Rock Band 3's "Road Challenge Mode", when the player is told "Don't be alarmed if you're asking for directions in the bus and the locals tell you to 'turn left at the Big Chicken'".[14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "A century after Jewish man's lynching, Georgia town unsettled". CBS News. August 16, 2015. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
  2. ^ a b "The Big Chicken". marietta.com. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
  3. ^ Hill, Jane (1991). Cobb County At the Heart of Change. Atlanta, Georgia: Longstreet Press. pp. 26–27. ISBN 1-56352-000-1.
  4. ^ "Cobb County Government". Cobbcountyga.gov. March 11, 1948. Archived from the original on January 20, 2010. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
  5. ^ "The Big Chicken, Marietta, Georgia". Roadside America. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
  6. ^ "Marietta's 'Big Chicken' restaurant getting $2 million renovation". www.bizjournals.com. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  7. ^ Cavitt, Ross (May 11, 2017). "Cobb County's 'Big Chicken' reopens after renovations". wsbtv.com. Archived from the original on January 27, 2018. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
  8. ^ a b Morris, Holly (August 6, 1989). "Playing Chicken in Georgia". The San Francisco Examiner. p. 163. Retrieved December 21, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.icon of an open green padlock
  9. ^ "Things to do in Cobb County". Access Atlanta. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
  10. ^ "About us". Big Chicken Chorus. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
  11. ^ "2021 Glover Park Concert Series". Marietta.com. Retrieved December 20, 2021.
  12. ^ "GLOVER PARK CONCERT SERIES: THE BIG CHICKEN BEATLE BAND – HITS OF THE BEATLES". VisitMariettaGA.com. Retrieved December 20, 2021.
  13. ^ "The Big Chicken Beatles Band at Marietta Square Sept 24!". Happeningnext.com. Retrieved December 20, 2021.
  14. ^ Hicks, Nelson (June 29, 2018). "6 things you didn't know about the Big Chicken". WSB-TV. Retrieved January 6, 2020.

Further reading[edit]

  • Albert C. Smith and Kendra Schank, "A Grotesque Measure for Marietta", Journal of Urban Design, 13574809, Oct99, Vol. 4, Issue 3.

External links[edit]