Construction worker Richard Spears disassembles the beak of the Big Chicken following major storm damage earlier in the year in Marietta on Sept. 27, 1993.
Photo: Louie Favorite / AJC file photo
Photo: Louie Favorite / AJC file photo

Marietta’s Big Chicken through the years

If you've traveled north of Atlanta, you’ve probably come across a giant red chicken that rolls its eyes at you as you drive by.

The famed Big Chicken of Marietta is a landmark located at one of the area’s biggest intersections: Cobb Parkway (U.S. 41) and Roswell Road (Georgia 120).

The 56-foot steel structure was designed by Hubert Puckett, a Georgia Tech architectural student, and erected in 1963 by Stanley R. “Tubby” Davis.

The structure was originally built for what was then Johnny Reb’s Chick, Chuck and Shake.

Kentucky Fried Chicken took over the building in 1974 and considered tearing down the bird structure after high winds damaged it in 1993. But overwhelming public support persuaded the company to repair the structure instead.

Like many historic regional landmarks, the Big Chicken has its share of quirks.

In the book “Georgia Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff,” William Schemmel writes that neighbors temprarily shut down the bird’s rolling eyes and flapping beak after the features were deemed too loud and scary for children.

“If he'd been here during the Civil War,” Schemmel wrote of the bird, “he’d’ve scared the Yankees back to Chattanooga.”

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