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.
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
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.
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.
Hal Martinez not only was a home designer and builder, but
he handled several large commercial projects in the Valley
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
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.
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?