Martis Camp

What’s in a Name?

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Valhalla, Wyntoon, Olana, Villandry. When driving through our community, you may wonder about the origins of our street names. Researching ideas and making final selections is a thought provoking process of community development. Most of the street names within Martis Camp originate from historic parks and estates located not only in Lake Tahoe, but also around the world.

If you’ve explored Lake Tahoe, you may be familiar with the Heller estate on the east shore. Built by Walter and Claire Heller in 1924, the estate was named Valhalla as a reference to a “heavenly place” in Norse mythology. Since its construction, the estate has changed hands a number of times and was eventually sold to the US Forest Service in 1971. Today, it’s open to the public and a beautiful site to float past when you’re out enjoying the lake on the Camp Cruiser.

In 1902, Phoebe Hearst – mother of William Randolph Hearst – hired visionary architect Bernard Maybeck to design a grand residence on the McCloud River near Mount Shasta, California. Wyntoon was completed in 1906 but later burned to the ground in 1929. The original residence was replaced in the 1930s with a series of Bavarian-styled structures designed by architect Julia Morgan.

Olana is named after a grand home built in the 1870s in New York’s Hudson Valley. Frederic and Isabel Church conceptualized the plan with architect Calvert Vaux. The home sits on the crest of a hill overlooking the Hudson River, and the design includes unique elements of Middle Eastern origin – ideas that developed from the Churches’ extended trip abroad to Europe and the Middle East in 1869.

Located in the Loire Valley, Villandry is a French chateau built centuries ago in 1532 by Jean Le Breton. At the time, the chateau’s architectural style was considered avant-garde and its dialog with the surrounding site was unusually harmonious. Ornamental gardens provided an important transition between the built structure and the natural landscape. Centuries later, this concept remains an important tenet of good site design and is a guiding principle of Martis Camp’s Architecture Handbook.

Martis Camp
Lastly, perhaps you’ve wondered about the origin of the name Martis Camp? The word “Camp” holds significant meaning and harkens back to an era of Great Camps in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York. Great Camps were compounds of cabins where families could relax in comfort among nature. The architecture of these camps used native materials of the region, including timber and stone. In this way, “Camp” aligned perfectly with our vision for a rustic family retreat in the mountains of Lake Tahoe, while also implying our desire for architectural integration with the environment.

The name Martis likely originated as the tribal name of Native Americans living in the area of Donner Summit between 1,500 and 4,000 years ago. The use of Martis acknowledges our location in the Martis Valley, ultimately making Martis Camp the perfect name for our community.

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