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The Big Chicken

The Big Chicken in Marietta

“The Big Chicken” is a well known Marietta landmark that rises above a KFC restaurant at the intersection of Cobb Parkway and Roswell Road. It is a large steel-sided structure with a moving beak and eyes.

History:
The Big Chicken was built in 1963 for a restaurant called Johnny Reb’s Chick-Chuck-‘N’-Shake (see below). The owner, Stanley R. “Tubby” Davis, created the seven story tall structure as a way to advertise his restaurant. Davis earned the nickname “Tubby” due to his feats of devouring buckets of chicken.

Soon after it was complete, the 56-foot tall towering landmark became a reference point, and phrases like “turn left at the big chicken” or “just one mile south of the big chicken” became common. A few years after construction of the big chicken, Davis sold Johnny Reb’s to his brother who turned it into a franchise of KFC in 1974.

In 1993, after years of deterioration and recent storm damage, the famous landmark was in danger of being torn down. When news of this plan reached the public, the outcry was so great that KFC agreed to rebuild the entire structure and restore it to its former glory.  The Big Chicken underwent a $2 million renovation again in 2017, adding a voice to the bird in addition to the existing moving beak and wobbly eyes.

The Big Chicken is located at the intersection of Cobb Parkway (U.S. Highway Route 41) and Roswell Road (Georgia State Route 120 Loop). There is a small gift shop inside if you would like to purchase souvenirs, or stop by the Marietta Museum of History for some Big Chicken merchandise.

Kentucky Fried Chicken – The Big Chicken
12 Cobb Parkway
Marietta GA 30062
(770) 422-4716

Big Chicken Ad
Big Chicken Ad from the early 1960’s. “Picnic Fried Chicken – Ready to Go!”
Johnny Rebs Restaurant
There was also a Johnny Reb’s in Atlanta. “Johnny Reb’s – Featuring Confederate Fried Chicken …served with an authentic Civil War atmosphere with true Southern Hospitality – Yankees Welcome.”

Did you know:
There was a peach orchard where the Big Chicken now stands.  S. R. “Tubby” Davis purchased the land for his restaurant from the Frey family who had a peach orchard along Roswell Rd.  In addition to the orchard, William Frey owned a cotton gin located near what is now the Big Chicken.  The road that farmers would take to get to the cotton gin is still known as Frey’s Gin Road – just down the street from the Big Chicken.

Cobb County, early 1900s. Will and Kate Frey in a peach orchard, on Roswell Road.  via https://dlg.usg.edu/record/dlg_vang_cob016