The Big Chicken is a 56-foot directional tool

For the last 55-ish years, folks in Marietta, a suburb just North of the 285 perimeter, have been giving directions with the help of the Big Chicken.

No, we’re not kidding.

It was first constructed in 1963 over Johnny Reb’s Chick, Chuck and Shake. Basically as a way to drum up some business from the highway that had just been finished.

At first, the 56-foot chicken was built with moving eyes and a beak. But, when the machine was first turned on, every window in the restaurant shattered. And since no one could figure out how to stop that from happening, it stood motionless, albeit a little goofy looking.

In 1974 Kentucky Fried Chicken took over the restaurant. Because of course. And apparently, Colonel Sanders visited and actually ordered the chicken torn down. But there was such an outcry, he backed down and the chicken lived.

But the perhaps the most precarious time for the Big Chicken was in January of 1993. A storm blew through the area and the chicken was damaged. That damage revealed decades of structural damage. Let’s just say pigeons make a mess, and that mess doesn’t get along well with steel. KFC announced that the chicken was going to be torn down and there was an absolute uproar. From the citizens in Marietta to famous politicians, folks were letting KFC know what they thought of that decision. Even pilots from the nearby air base chimed in, saying they used the chicken to help them chart their course.

KFC eventually relented and even spent several hundred thousand dollars to rebuild the Big Chicken and renovate the restaurant.

Oh, by the way, they did get that motor issue figured out.