While visiting an antique shop in North Carolina I discovered an old copy of Sunshine Magazine. This has turned into the latest Nostalgic Rambler obsession and it was mighty time to do another blog so here's the low down on Sunshine Magazine.
It was started by a man named Henry F. Henrichs who at first used it to promote his business which was bringing buyers and sellers of newspapers together.
The magazine featured light reading with lots of positive upbeat stories, riddles, and points to ponder. By the 1950s thousands of subscribers were on the mailing list.
The magazine covers and line drawings often pictured "The House of Sunshine" on them as well as Ganymede the shepherd boy. The House of Sunshine was the actual place Henrichs was headquartered in, located in Litchfield, Illinois. Highly stylized for the magazine covers and often pictured in different surroundings depending on the issue, the House of Sunshine became a tourist attraction in Litchfield and the magazines often featured praises from visitors. The building housed a library, interesting murals and art work, and a state of the art (for the time) music system. Organ concerts were often hosted for the visitors and a fountain outside lit up the place at night.
The House of Sunshine was extolled by its employees as a wonderful place to work. Mr. Henrichs published many magazines in a similar vein for various businesses to use. He also published books.
I found a biography written in the late 1950s about this publishing empire and it is a great read.
These monthly magazines brought a lot of pleasure to people. At the end of the year they were bound into 12 issue beautiful books and that is what I found at the antique store...and I have found a few more since then. The positive stories are fun to read and nothing is copyrighted in them....so I can use them on the Christian radio station I run.
Sunshine Magazine (or "magazet" as Henrichs called it) put Litchfield on the map...but it has long been defunct. What happened? The internet doesn't say much of anything about this one time very successful magazine and its amazing publisher. Henrichs later purchased a plot of land in Litchfield and called it Sunshine Park. I found it on the map and it looks like a Christian organization owns it and has a House of Sunshine Coffee Shop there now. I have contacted them to see if they have any info on the original House of Sunshine .........
Litchfield has a historical museum on old Route 66 but no info on their website about Sunshine Magazine or the House of Sunshine either.
For fun I am going to try to resurrect some of the Sunshine Magazine/House of Sunshine material on Facebook. Look for www.facebook.com/Sunshinemagazet for the postings. I couldn't use Sunshinemagazine or Houseofsunshine as they were taken, but apparently nobody except Mr. Henrichs took to the name of magazet for his very interesting life's work!
After doing some more research, I obtained the 1965 volume of magazines...and was saddened to hear that the original House of Sunshine building burned down! Here's a magazine quote:
"When the construction of the original House of Sunshine in 1940 had assumed recognizable proportions, it seemed a bit of Heaven had dropped down in the midst of the little city of Litchfield, Illinois. The populace was aflutter, not knowing, however, that the symbol of the new creation had already far outreached the local aspirations. Hordes of people came from the countryside and neighboring towns and villages daily and nightly to see the uncommon appointments of the new creation, and view its picturesque fountains and lightings. Then came visitors from far and near, and tourists detoured hundreds of miles to see the marvelous House of Sunshine....
Howbeit, the vision of grandeur was quickly quenched for the House of Sunshine in the great fire of October 30, 1964. A massive
I don't have any info after 1965 yet but that is why it looks like the current coffeehouse site might be the "new" site, as the House of Sunshine obviously continued.
Thanks to Sarah Waggoner
Tourism Coordinator -- City of Litchfield for responding to my information request