The Big Chicken
The Big Chicken, Marietta, Georgia
The Big Chicken
Marietta, Georgia
Johnny Reb's was a Marietta (Marietta city history) greasy spoon with a challenge. Owner Tubby Davis was facing increasing competition and he needed a means of attracting customers to his establishment. "Reb" burgers at 15 cents a shot were no longer unique, but his fried chicken might just do the trick.

He turned to Georgia Tech ('57) graduate Hubert Puckett to design and build the sheet metal structure that rose 56 feet above the ground. Puckett was employed by a division of Atlanta Steel, a structural design and building firm. The eyes were designed to rotate and the beak would open and close. A ruffle on the top of the Big Chicken's head would move from side-to-side in the wind.

Over the years the structure created at the corner of Highway 120 and U. S. 41 gained a certain renown with local folks who used the chicken as a landmark for directions. "In the shadow of the Big Chicken" or "first light south of the Big Chicken" are still common phrases used on television and radio to describe a location in Marietta. In fact, Marietta Square is just six blocks west of the Big Chicken.

Time and the elements took its toll on the last remnant of Tubby's fast food restaurant. First the mechanical beak and eyes were shut off because of malfunctions. The structure needed a good paint job. The riveting, holding the sheet metal to the steel skeleton, was in constant need of repair.

Finally, in 1993, the end of the Big Chicken was near. After a period of neglect and damage from an unnamed stormed, the roadside landmark had seen better days and the cost of repair would be too great. When plans of the Chicken's demise were leaked to the public an unexpected outcry of support forced the owners of the KFC franchise to rethink their options.

They did and turned to Atlanta Steel (now part of Timken Corp.) to help with the repair. Although Mr. Puckett no longer worked with the firm, they were more than happy to help reconstruct the now famous landmark. Technological advancements made it easier to create the movement in the beak and eyes; a new coat of paint (actually, several coats of paint) and the Big Chicken was once again ready to stand duty on US 41 in Marietta.

Today the Big Chicken stands in front of a KFC (the new name for Kentucky Fried Chicken). Inside the building is a gift shop with all kinds of Big Chicken memorabilia.

Location: 1970 N. Cobb Parkway
Marietta, GA
(On the northeast corner at the intersection of Cobb Parkway (U.S. 41) and Roswell Rd.
Directions: Take I-75 to the South 120 Loop (also known as South Marietta Parkway). Go west for .6 miles on GA 120 to South Cobb Parkway. Turn right on South Cobb and go .7 miles to the Big Chicken on the right
Additional information:

Date added: November 16, 2003
Last update: January 23, 2004

Other Attractions in Marietta
Marietta National Cemetery
Marietta Confederate Cemetery
Root House
Gone With The Wind Movie Museum
Harry's Farmers Market
Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art
Peter Kolb's Farm
Marietta Museum of History
Kennesaw House
Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park
Marietta Square (Glover Park)

Roadside Listing
Track Rock
Rock Eagle Effigy Mound
Big Red Apple
Historic Squares of Savannah
Georgia Guidestones
Rock City
Wilder Tower
Babyland General Hospital
Clock Tower
Stonepile Gap
Moon's Station
Etowah River Bridge
Cooper's Iron Works
Cass Station
Oostanaula River Bridge
Fort Norton
John B. Gordon Hall
Relief Map at Ringgold
Relief Map at Dalton
Resaca Map
Noble Brothers Foundry
Kennesaw House
Coca-Cola bottle at Turner Field
Cagle's Dairy
World of Coca Cola
Skylift at Stone Mountain Park
Market House

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