Helios Drive

Although Helios is the sun god of Greek myth, Helios Drive is named for a mortal: Marie Russak Hotchener (1865-1945), a member of the cult-like Theosophical Society, who established their “Krotona” colony here in the 1910s. Helios was Hotchener’s “star name”, much as Alcyone – misspelled nearby on Alcyona Drive – was for Theosophy’s reluctant messiah Krishnamurti. Hotchener, born plain old Mary Ellen Barnard in Chico, was an accomplished soprano who joined the Theosophists in 1898, gave up her singing career, and eventually served as secretary to Theosophy leader Annie Besant (see Vasanta Way). As Marie Russak – the surname of her late second husband – she married Theosophist Henry Hotchener (1881-1959) in 1916. Two years earlier, he named Helios Drive after her on 5 acres he bought for Krotona. Marie Hotchener was no mere acolyte: she edited Theosophy publications, lectured frequently, and was even a self-taught architect: several of her Eastern-inspired houses still stand here, in particular “Moorcrest”, whose famous residents include Charlie Chaplin, Mary Astor, and Andy Samberg.