Friday, October 3, 2008

A Town called Chicken.

I know that a time or to I have been called Chicken but this was the first I have of a town being called Chicken, but there you are. On the Alaskan side of the Canadian Border on the appropriately named, “Top Of The World Highway”, stands the small town of Chicken with its population according to a census 8 years ago of 17 people.
It is an old gold rush town, which was named back in 1902 after the ptarmigan fowl that was very common then. Originally it was intended to call it Ptarmigan*, but the founding fathers could not agree on how to spell the word, and so the compromise was reached and hence it has been called Chicken ever since.
Now I know that sometimes compromise is a good thing, but somehow in this case I think it would rather have taken the chance with the odd misspellings of Ptarmigan, than the more spellable, but plain ”chicken”.
What say you? Sometimes compromise is good and wise but sometimes it is also the easy way out, and thus sometimes should be avoided too, for the slightly harder but more preferable alternative, don’t you think.
* From the Net.
“Ptarmigan, common name for three species of bird that make up a genus of the grouse subfamily, found in mountain and tundra areas around the northern hemisphere. One bird, the white-tailed ptarmigan, is confined to high mountains of western North America. The willow ptarmigan and the rock ptarmigan are circumpolar, and are among the very few nonmigratory birds of the Arctic. Ptarmigan are notable for having a moulting cycle unique among birds, in that they assume a white plumage in winter, in addition to the usual spring and autumn plumages. Their toes, which are at best sparsely feathered at other times, become heavily feathered in winter, creating efficient “snowshoes”. One population of willow ptarmigan—the red grouse of Great Britain— does not develop the white winter plumage.”

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