The Town of Chicken was once the mining hub for the Fortymile district. In 1886, ten years before the Klondike Gold Rush, gold was discovered on Franklin Creek and the community of Chicken was founded.
As the story goes, the miners wanted to name the town 'Ptarmigan' after the bird which is common in the area. Unfortunately, people couldn't agree on how to spell it! Finally they settled with the easier name of Chicken. The name stuck and so has the community, despite an up-and-down history of mining in the Fortymile district. Today, there is a lot more to Chicken than appears from the roadway. Guided tours take people through the Historic Town of Chicken, which is a living museum of Gold Rush and Alaskan Frontier History.
In its glory year, Chicken boasted a population of around 400. Now, it ranges from 50 in the summer to 6 in the winter. Miners still work the nearby hills, hoping to find that elusive pay streak. Most use suction dredges but there are still a few placer miners working claims. Try your luck goldpanning on our claims on Chicken Creek. Massive dredges that were used up until the mid 1960's to mine the creeks are found not far from town. They were abandoned 30 years ago by the F.E. Gold Company. A short hike from the Taylor Highway will take you to an excellent viewpoint where the Cowden Dredge (a steam driven dredge) lays abandoned on the Mosquito Fork. For more information on how to get there stop in at the Goldpanner.
Daily tours of the Historic Town of Chicken and Tisha's Schoolhouse leave at 10am and 2pm during the summer season from The Goldpanner Gift Shop.