Chicken is a census-designated place (CDP) in
Southeast Fairbanks Census Area, Alaska, United States. Chicken is a community
founded on gold mining and is one of the few surviving gold rush towns in
Alaska. The population was 7 at the 2010 Census. However, usually year round,
there are 17 inhabitants. Due to mining, Chicken's population peaks during the
summer. It has frequently been noted on lists of unusual place names.
was settled by gold miners in the late 1800s and in 1902 the local post office
was established requiring a community name. Due to the prevalence of ptarmigan
in the area that name was suggested as the official name for the new community.
However, the spelling could not be agreed on and Chicken was used to avoid
embarrassment. A portion of Chicken, with buildings from the early 1900s and the
F.E. Company Dredge No. 4 (Pedro Dredge) are listed on the National Register of
Historical Places. Chicken is the outpost for the 40 Mile mining district. There
are still active gold mines in this area. Enough gold was mined here to make it
worthwhile to haul huge gold dredges to this remote location. There are still
several inactive gold dredges in the Chicken area.
Chicken has one notable former inhabitant: Anne Hobbs Purdy, who was a teacher
and co-author of the book "Tisha" (together with Robert Specht, Bantam Books),
lived here for one year in the late 1920s. Her book tells her story in the
Alaskan wilderness and how she faces the difficulties of a close-knit community,
prejudices against natives, and the harsh winter.