The great Lake Stevens chicken war

LAKE STEVENS — The Chicken has had a long and full life.

Right now, it’s undergoing scrutiny after its current owner at the Chicken Drive-In, in downtown Lake Stevens, was recently told by the city the bird has to be removed because it violates city code. The matter has yet to be resolved.

But that’s nothing. It’s had its shoulder broken. It’s had numbers drawn into its eyes. It’s been dragged to keg parties in the woods. The 7-foot-tall fowl has been the foil for countless school pranks over the years.

Ask Jean Kiniry. She started the Chicken Drive-In near what is now Frontier Village in 1968 — 40 years ago. The bird was first stolen in 1969 from its perch atop the small drive-in, after which the class of ‘69 wrote the number “69” in black on its yellow eyes.

Nearly every year, the Lake Stevens High School senior class filched the fiberglass Chicken, and Kiniry’s patience with the pranks depended on the shape in which the bird came back. Or if it came back at all.

“Sometimes I had a little problem,” said Kiniry, now 75 and still living in Sunnyside. “One time I had to bribe the whole basketball team with burgers and fries to get it back.”

In later years, she bolted it down, and even hid it away at graduation time.

Kiniry ran the stand, which enjoyed a reputation for good fast food, for 27 years until she sold it to Dave Huber in 1995. Huber ran the business until closing it a few years ago. The building now houses a barbecue business.

Last year, the latest incarnation of the Chicken Drive-In — with a reproduction of the bird, since Huber still has the original — opened downtown.

Kiniry made a good living and enjoyed the work, she said.

“I knew everyone up there,” she said.

Chicken run

Early 1960s: The fiberglass Chicken makes its first perch atop Gerry’s Drive-In, Lynnwood

1968: Jean Kiniry, a former Gerry’s employee, buys the Chicken and opens the Chicken Drive-In

1969: The Chicken is stolen for the first time

1970s-1990s: High school seniors steal the Chicken each year

1995: The Chicken Drive-In is sold and closes several years later

2007: A new version of the restaurant opens

Reporter Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439 or sheets@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Navy now plans to send 3 more ships to Everett

The destroyer USS John S. McCain is the latest with plans to move here within the next 13 months.

Everett’s Grand Avenue bridge getting closer to opening

Construction is set to finish later this month. But don’t expect a grand opening party.

State: Held up jobless claims to be resolved by end of month

Just under 35,000 people are still waiting for resolution of their claims for unemployment benefits.

8-mile detour for Highway 9 roundabout work starts Thursday

The intersection of Highway 9 and 108th Street Northeast in Marysville will close until Monday.

Man suspected of child abuse in Hawaii arrested in Shoreline

He was wanted for investigation of seven counts of child sexual assault and abuse in Maui.

Buffets and salad bars back on the menu in Snohomish County

Gov. Jay Inslee has revised rules to allow self-serve food areas in Phase 2 of the state’s reopening.

Man charged with murder in alleged Mill Creek attack on ex

William Pool allegedly tried drowning a woman in a puddle. He stopped when she stabbed him.

Eviction moratorium uncertainty means preparing for anything

Landlords and housing advocates work to keep a roof over the heads of Snohomish County’s renters.

Most Read