Built shortly after World War II, Hungry Horse’s massive concrete-arch dam is a tribute to mid-twentieth-century engineering. The project’s construction drew thousands of people to this isolated area near Glacier Park, changing both the physical and human landscape forever.
By filling a steep canyon on the South Fork of the Flathead River, the dam created a 3.5-million-acre-feet reservoir that established a 445-foot head for the hydroelectric plant that was part of the project. The dam controlled the flow the South Fork of the Flathead River, a major tributary of the Columbia River, helping to control flooding in the watershed and maximize hydroelectricity production at a series of plants downstream.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation hired Hess Roise to document Hungry Horse for the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER). That study is now archived in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Charlene Roise also wrote an article on the project that was published in Montana The Magazine of Western History in Summer 2018 and can be downloaded here.