We explore one of the great mysteries of our time: why is there a rock in Newbury, New Hampshire, with the words “CHICKEN FARMER I STILL LOVE YOU” painted on it? Plus: why is there a giant statue of a chicken eating burgers on top of a restaurant in Wisconsin? Lots of chicken mysteries out there, I guess.
Merrill, Wisconsin: Chicken Holding Burger, Beer (Roadside America)
Welcome to episode 300 of Cool Weird Awesome!
I have to say when all this started 300 episodes ago, I couldn’t imagine, well, anything that’s happening right now, but definitely not that we would come so far with so many of you here too.
So thanks, and here’s a story of something else that defies explanation: the story of a rock with a mysterious declaration of love painted on it.
It all started decades ago in Newbury, New Hampshire, when one day on a big rock along Route 103, drivers noticed someone had painted in big white letters, the words “CHICKEN FARMER I LOVE YOU.”
There have been plenty of stories about who the chicken farmer might be, and who the lover was, but nothing definitive.
Except that some people who drove through the town complained that the message was an eyesore and ought to be removed, and so the state came in and painted the face of the rock barn red.
But that got the locals upset.
They loved the sign and couldn’t believe anyone would want to get rid of it.
So they collected hundreds of signatures on a petition to leave alone the landmark they had dubbed Chicken Farmer Rock, which the state agreed to do.
And around that time, someone painted a new message on the rock. It read: “CHICKEN FARMER I STILL LOVE YOU.”
The town was thrilled to have its rock back – a year ago this week they even had a Chicken Farmer 5K.
And every so often someone’s freshened up the paint job. Whoever it is, they’re sort of a country cousin to whoever was leaving cognac at Edgar Allan Poe’s grave in Baltimore.
Who? We just don’t know, but a reporter friend of mine, Paige Sutherland, came about as close as anybody to finding out, and you can check our her reporting for even more on this unusual landmark.
Speaking of chickens, look around next time you’re in Merrill, Wisconsin.
It’s home to almost 10,000 people and one giant statue of a chicken, standing on a large green barrel and holding a burger in one hand and a large frosty beverage in the other.
To see it is to love it.
You may even wind up professing your love to the chicken by painting a giant rock.