History of the Big Chicken
The Big Chicken was built in 1963 by S.R. "Tubby" Davis as a method of advertising a restaurant on U.S. 41, a main thoroughfare through Marietta, Georga.
The 56 feet high structure was designed by an unidentified Georgia Tech architectural student. It was initgially designed to withstand 100 mph winds, with operating eyes, beak and a comb which moved with any passing breeze. Although the structure was sturdy, the mechanical movements when the eyes and beak moved created excessive vibration, sometimes to the extent of breaking windows. At some point the owners did discontinue efforts to keep the mechanics operating.
The unit was fabricated by Atlantic Steel and erected at the site of the Johnny Reb's Chick, Chuck and Shake, which was a drive-in chicken and hamburger restaurant.
In 1966 S.R. Davis sold the restaurant to this brother A.T. Davis who owned one of the early Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises.
In 1974 Kentucky Fried Chicken (K.F.C.) leased the restaurant which was one of the highest dollar volume K.F.C. operations until the construction of I-75 parallel to U.S. 41 relocated the traffic through the area.
In January 1993 heavy winds damaged the Big Chicken with sheet metal being ripped off of the structure. At the time, K.F.C. voiced concern over repairing the structure, and after overwhelming public support, K.F.C. did repair the structure, and also made the beak and eye mechanics operational.
Today the 7-story structure is operated as a Kentucky Fried Chicken location, but is primarily recognized as a landmark for purposes of giving directions to the multitudes of businesses and residence located in Cobb County Georgia in the U.S. 41 and Roswell Road area.
The visitor now can purchase the various menu items available at K.F.C. restaurants and view historic materials, including pieces of the original structure maintained on display. Also, the visitor may now purchase souvenirs and gifts from the Gift Shop located in the restaurant.
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Copyright 1999 Big Chicken Enterprises Inc.