Image: Bruce Sundlund, "Codename Salamander"
Source: Wikipedia CC-BY-SA-3.0

Salamander Hotels & Resorts

Where did the name “Salamander” originate?

Well, the origin of the word “Salamander” as it relates to Ms. Sheila C. Johnson’s Hospitality interests can be traced to Mr. Bruce Sundlun, a war hero, successful businessman and leading politician. During World War II, while flying his 13th mission as a B-17 bomber pilot, Sundlun's plane crashed over Nazi-occupied Belgium. For months, he evaded capture by crossing into France and Spain. The Maquis, a resistance group that was waging guerilla war against the Germans, recruited Sundlun and gave him the code name "Salamander" after the amphibian that can mythically walk through fire.

Upon returning to the U.S., Sundlun graduated from Harvard Law School and went to Washington, D.C., as an assistant U.S. attorney. Later, he had a series of successes in private industry, returning to politics as a two-term Governor of Rhode Island.

Sundlun purchased a 200-acre estate in Virginia and named it "Salamander" after his old Underground name. Later, after selling his beloved Salamander Farm, he retired to Rhode Island to live with his family. The farm's name was subsequently changed, but when Johnson purchased the estate, she expressed interest in renaming the property.

In addition to finding Sundlun's story inspiring, Johnson discovered that for centuries the salamander has symbolized strength, courage and fortitude - traits with which she has identified throughout her personal and business life.

Sundlun granted permission for the name "Salamander Farm" to be restored to the estate and Ms. Johnson continues to expand the use of "Salamander" in her businesses.