borrego modern

Hal Martinez was one of the earliest and most prolific designers and builders in Borrego Springs, yet there is little known about him despite a significant body of work. One of the initial questions in discussing his career is "how do you pronounce his last name - is it Mar-TEEN- ez or Mar-tin-EH?" From several long time Borrego Springs residents the answer is the latter however they too are not 100% sure that this is the correct answer.

Residential Work

One of the earliest projects for Hal Martinez was construction of the 1950 Cliff May designed Hauser residence in the Unit D estate subdivision. This custom ranch home has been widely publicized and was featured in Western Ranch Houses by Cliff May. 1

The first article in the Borrego Sun to feature Martinez's work was in September 1952:

"TV Home Completed"
The Borrego Springs TV home which was featured all last season of the Borrego Springs Co. show in San Diego is completed and ready for occupancy.
Situated at the corner of Tilting T and Star roads the 3000 square foot desert showplace was designed and built by Hal Martinez of the Martinez Construction Co. and is the latest example of excellent desert construction.
The large red brink (sic) modern home emphasizes complete privacy without sacrificing any of the glorious views of the desert afforded by the choice residential location.
Landscaped with palms and interior and exterior planters the house is finished in oiled wood and decorated tastefully with hand carved will (sic) plaques.
Other features include a patio and swimming pool, two baths, sliding glass door as well as large playroom and recreation area."

New Home
Construction of the first home to be built in unit "G" of the Borrego Springs subdivision was completed last month by Mr. & Mrs. Gearhardt of Pacific Beach, California.
The dwelling, planned by Fazio, the Arizona architect, will be approximately 1000 square feet and is being built by the Martinez Construction Co. The home is located at the corner of Frying Pan Road and Country Club Road. 2

Martinez Construction was listed in the January 1952 phone book that was published in the Sun: Extension 18. 3

As development began at de Anza Country Club, Martinez designed and built several prominent golf course homes, including the 1957 Nelson Residence, that features a circular living room and roof top deck.

1 Martinez is listed as builder on presentation documentation from Cliff May to the original owner of the property, although Martinez is misspelled Martiniz. The documentation has been passed from the original owners and is now in possession of the present owner, the home's fifth according to a local real estate agent.
2 Borrego Sun, September, 1952
3 Borrego Beginnings, Phil Brigandi, Page 73

Martinez was the builder for projects in Borrego designed by William Cody, with the exception of the DiGiorgio home at de Anza Country Club (it was built by Robert Maw Construction of La Jolla). In a March 1957 Borrego Sun report:
(As part of a $100,000 building program) This house, designed by Cody and to be built by Martinez Construction Co. will be located on an estate lot on Verbena Drive near Lazy S road, overlooking the golf course.July 1960 - Golf Course Home - Ground was broken on home near the ninth green on the De Anza Course for William H Black of La Jolla. The four bedroom, six bath home was designed and will be built by Hal Martinez.
The 1,580 square foot house will feature the ultimate in design for desert living with a sheltered patio on the south side to which direct access is available from the living room, kitchen and bath. The sheltered effect is achieved through an overhanging roof which juts out over the patio…
Meanwhile the first home, also designed by Cody and built by Martinez, was nearing completion in the same area and will be ready for occupancy this month.

Commercial Projects
Hal Martinez not only was a home designer and builder, but he handled several large commercial projects in the Valley including:

La Placita - (Carlee's Restaurant) - January 1956
The start of 1956 finds Borrego Springs in one of the most active building periods in its history…Mr Joseph Cooper, enterprising businessman of the valley, has approved the plans for his one thre(sic) - store combination building. Construction is underway on the 2800 square foot building by the A.H. Martinez Construction Co…

De Anza Country Club Clubhouse - October 1956
Hal Martinez designed and built the first permanent clubhouse at de Anza Country Club. The clubhouse was to be replaced by a larger and more complete building with the construction of the final nine holes of the course. The designed featured an expanse of glass overlooking the first tee (with construction of the second nine holes the course would be renumbered)

Hoberg's Desert Resort - Borrego Palms Resort (The Palms at Indian Head)
On April 22, 1958, one of the most spectacular fires in Borrego history destroyed the main building of was what the biggest and most important resort in the Valley. Originally built in 1947, Hoberg's Desert Resort, ownership changed hands many times during the 1950's. It had been renamed the Borrego Palms Resort in 1958 when a gas water heater in the main building above the beauty salon exploded. The fire, which broke out at night, "lit up the entire floor of the Valley the Borrego Sun reported.
In October constructed started on a replacement main building. While the architect is not known, Martinez Construction was the general contractor.

4 Borrego Sun, September, 1952
5 Borrego Beginnings, Phil Brigandi, Page 73

From the Borrego Sun October 1958:
"Building Starts on New Structure at Borrego Palms
Construction was started last month on a new main building for the Borrego Palms Resort. Hal Martinez Construction Co. of Borrego Springs has been selected as general contractor."

There are no reports in the Borrego Sun in the 1960's that refer to Martinez Construction Company. From a 2008 perspective it appears Martinez left the Valley - leading to the question, as yet answered, when did Hal Martinez leave Borrego and why?