Chicken

The Welcome to Chicken sign, painted on the town's water tank.

Photo by J. Stephen Conn

You probably know what a chicken is, but did you know that there’s a town called Chicken in Alaska? The area was settled in the late 1800s by gold miners, and in 1902 a post office was established, so the town needed a name. The original plan was to call the town Ptarmigan, (after the bird that was plentiful in the area), but there were disagreements on how to spell it so the name Chicken was chosen instead.

In its heyday, there were around 400 people living in Chicken, but now the population is apparently as low as 6 during the winter months. Chicken was the home of Anne Hobbs Purdy, the author of the book Tisha. These days it appears that there is an annual music festival, Chickenstock in June.

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