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Chicken, Alaska has a population of 24 (2002 estimate) and is unincorporated.

Chicken is located at mile 66 of the Taylor Highway. It lies on the right bank of Chicken Creek, one mile north of Mosquito Fork, in the Fortymile River Basin. Interior Alaska experiences seasonal temperature extremes. Winter temperatures can range as low as ­80 and summer temperatures can range into the 90’s. Average annual precipitation is 11.3 inches

The area has been the historical home to Han Kutchin Indians. In 1896, Bob Mathieson found a major gold prospect on Upper Chicken Creek, staked his claim and built a cabin. Chicken grew as a hub of activity for the southern portion of the Fortymile Mining District. 700 miners were thought to be working the area between 1896 and 1898. And although many miners left during the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898, Chicken remained a viable community.

Local legend has it that Chicken received its name when a meeting of local miners could not agree on the spelling of Ptarmigan so they chose instead the local nickname for the bird, “chicken”.

A post office was established in 1903 -- the population was around 400. In 1906, Harvey Van Hook built the two-story Chicken Creek Hotel. In 1925, Ann "Tisha" Purdy taught school in the building. From 1946-1953, Molly and Bob McComb used the building as a roadhouse, store and bunkhouse. In 1953, F.E. Company bought the grounds and buildings of Chicken to facilitate their gold dredging operations. The 14 remaining buildings in historical Chicken are listed on the National Register of Historical Places.

In 1959, the F.E. Company moved the Pedro Dredge from Fairbanks to Chicken and commenced mining. The dredge operated until 1967, mining most of the placer deposit. The Pedro Dredge was moved again in 1998 by Bernie Karl and Mike Busby, to a publically accessible location at the Original Chicken Gold Camp.

Much of the community still depends on gold mining for their livelihood for their livelihood. The economy of the community is also dependent upon summer summer visitors. The Chicken Creek Saloon, old-west style saloon, the Original Chicken Gold Camp, a RV park and campground, the Chicken Creek Outpost cafe and the Goldpanner serve local residents and visitors.

Chicken is accessible by road only during summer months, from Tok, Alaska via the Taylor Highway, or Dawson City in the Yukon Territory via the Top of the World Highway. An airstrip is available. - M. Busby


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