Hungry Horse was named after a freighter lost a team of horses crossing the southfork of the Flathead River during the winter of 1901. As the story goes, the horses were found the following spring and as the skinny, starving horses were led through town, someone remarked "that was awful hungry horse country". In the early 1950s Hungry Horse Dam was being constructed. A large steel ball was placed on a cable between two D9 cats and was used to knock down the unmarketable timber. This ball, swinging back and forth between the cats, kept the cable above the stumps which speeded up the process of clearing the reservoir. In the middle of town, this part of Hungry Horse's history, affectionately called the 'dam ball' is honored in the park area.

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