Chicken, Alaska, not to be confused with Baked Alaska, is a town of no large proportions and a delicious name.
There may be other cities in the US in which Chicken appears in their name, but none so elevated as Chicken, Alaska located just north of the 64th parallel at 1,621 feet. Sandwiched between the the towns of Eagle and Tok (pronounced Tōk). I’m making no judgement here but the brownies may be delicious. Settled in the late 1800’s by gold seeking miners near the south fork of the 40-Mile River before the Klondike Gold Rush.
With a scarcity of food back then they took up eating the ample Ptarmigan, Alaska’s state bird, which looks something like a chicken. Not to be confused with the Pukeko of New Zealand, which also starts with a “P” and looks something like a chicken but I digress.
In the beginning residents wanted to name the town Ptarmigan but couldn’t agree on the spelling. Nor did they want the name of their fair town to be an embarrassment. So when they incorporated in 1902, they choose the name Chicken. They’ve made the most of it ever since.
Depending on who you ask, there may be between 6 and 37 year round residents. There’s no electricity (except by generator), no phones, no internet (they have a website but it’s managed outside of Chicken) and no central plumbing. I’ve used their public outhouse, the Chicken Poop. In the local vernacular, it’s a “four holer” and you don’t have to cross the road to use it.
The main street boasts The Chicken Post Office, Chicken Liquor Store, Chicken Saloon, Chicken Mercantile Emporium, (where I purchased a copy of Outhouses of Alaska, a must read for any outhouse user), and Chicken Creek Cafe, which I probably should have mentioned before the outhouse. They keep the mascot chickens between the cafe and saloon. However, there was no sign explaining which came first. . .
The colorful ceiling of the saloon is lined with burned undies and baseball caps. In questioning the bar tender, he demonstrated this feat with a small home made cannon and a fellow traveler’s cap. After stomping on the flaming cap, he attached it to the ceiling. I’m sure they’ve run out of room by now.
To get the cluck to Chicken try traveling on the gravel paved Turner Highway, pot holes included for your driving pleasure. Then there’s the Chicken Airstrip, if you prefer to travel where Chickens don’t fly. I doubt they call it the Chicken Strip.
For some fun reading, check out the Chicken Alaska Not So Frequently Asked Questions. It’s a hoot or is that a cluck?
Many thanks to Dave, Rob and Arto for inviting me to join the world of funny name appreciation.
hahahah. If we are doing town names now, I have dibs on Truth or Consequences, NM and Blue Balls, PA!!
Haha, Mailman has already beaten you to Blue Balls, I’m afraid! Wait … that didn’t come out right …
Haha, I love it!
What I want to know is have you been to either of those places?
I can so see this comment thread getting totally derailed into something totally inappropriate … and I love it!
There are also French Lick, Indiana; Hot Coffee, Mississippi; Loafers Glory, NC; Dixville Notch, NH – which I’ve already covered a little in a FNITN near election day; and of course the great Hell, Michigan. 🙂 There’s a lot of material there!
I’ve actually been to Dixville Notch,NH. Twice! (Balsams ski resort). If the place was any further north, it would be in Canada. 😛
That’s so awesome! If I get into Yale, I’ll have to go there a time or two as well!
Charming! Clever! 🙂
This was hilarious and made my morning! Fannie, I’m so glad you’re here!! 🙂
I’m glad you like it.
bizarre! This is why we read the BoFN:-)
And we’re glad you do! 🙂 Excited to write next week’s post, Liz? I’m looking forward to it!
I’m up already? 0-: haha I’m ready to go. But let’s not be raising any expectations around here 😉
Reblogged this on Fannie Cranium's and commented:
My friends at the Blog of Funny Names invited me to join them. They let me go off the reservation and post about a town for my first time out. Enjoy.
I love it! Even more impressive is that you’ve actually been there…and marked your territory!
Now that’s funny. I hadn’t even thought of it that way.
I love it when I get to see a brand-new contributor on the BoFN! (Fun fact, that’s the first time I’ve ever used that abbreviation)
Great research as well! I’m impressed! I think you’ve gotta love a town that has “not so frequently asked questions” and flaunts it!
You should bring out that abbreviation more often! All the cool kids are using it. By “cool kids”, I mean Liz and myself . And by Liz and myself, I mean just Liz, as I’m clearly a long way from cool.
you kill me, amber. I shrunk BoFN down after seeing (or someone else?) you do it and realizing it would save me words so I could stay under 500! And thanks on the “cool kids” comment. That’s me–cool cool cool. (um, yeah)
I just pictured you saying “cool cool cool” like Abed says it on Community, and now I love you even more.
aw shucks–looks like we’re going to be fast friends 😉
P.S. Fannie, I think you win the award for “cleverest incorporation of a link in your post” for the “no explaining which came first” link! Very well done 🙂
Thanks Dave! You gave me the idea when you sent me your hints, tips and rules. I never realized one could get so much mileage out of a chicken.
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