Guest Author - Dawn Engler
It all started in the Gold Rush days. 1896 to be exact was the first gold mining claim along the Upper Chicken Creek. It was a booming town at one point with up to 700 miners. Then the Klondike Gold Rush pulled many miners out of the area. The tale is told that in 1902, Chicken was to become incorporated and the name of Ptarmigan was chosen. Currently the state bird, the Ptarmigan looked very much like a chicken, and the locals were concerned about folks spelling the name of their town wrong. So Chicken was the name it became.
Chicken was a pit stop on our cruise-tour, while traveling the Taylor Highway from Eagle Alaska down to Tok. The only gas stop between Tok and Eagle keeps this town a viable interest. If you’ve traveled the Taylor Highway, then you know to be prepared for an interesting ride. This is a hard packed, gravel road, shared by your bus, and in some instances trucks that seem wider than the road itself. Hairpin curves seemed to be the norm but if you can stay focused on the beautiful scenery, your heart rate shouldn’t become too elevated! Chicken was a well timed stop for a breather!
When you arrive in Chicken, you will find for your convenience, a bar, a restaurant/cafe, a chicken wood cut-out thingy to have your picture taken in, and beautifully maintained outhouses! No, there is no water, or sewer lines and electric is provided by generators. Visit the Post Office established in 1903, the oldest in the Interior Alaska Region, and get your postmarked Chicken post card. The mail is brought in by aircraft twice a week weather permitting, non-stop since Chicken was established. Overnight accommodations are the Chicken Gold Camp & Outpost or the Chicken creek RV Park & Cabins. You can spend your free time hiking, gold panning, watching the northern lights, or just relaxing while drinking a nice Alaskan Amber Beer. The summer keeps the town bustling with gold prospectors, still a draw to the state with many active sites.
If you’re traveling to Interior Region of Alaska, be sure to add Chicken to your menu. A quaint town with lots of character, it’s worth a taste.