Back in the 1960’s, oil companies flocked to Prudhoe Bay to explore the region. They hoped to find vast reserves of oil beneath the sea.
Once oil had been discovered, it became apparent they needed a road north from Fairbanks. A 414-mile road across the Arctic tundra requires a lot of gravel, and the oil company hired a local man from Fairbanks to haul that gravel.
The gravel-hauler quickly realized it would take far more than his paltry fleet of trucks to haul the quantities of gravel needed for such a massive project, so he approached his father for a loan.
His father, who didn’t believe in the viability of oil fields in the far north, felt his son was crazy for pursuing the job.
“You’re kicking a dead horse,” he told his son.
The son, to his credit, persisted in hauling gravel northward – trying to reach “that dead horse”.
The name stuck.