|Company||Sunset Publishing Corporation (Regent, L.P.)|
|Based in||Oakland, California|
Sunset is a lifestyle magazine in the United States. Sunset focuses on homes, cooking, gardening, and travel, with a focus almost exclusively on the Western United States. The magazine is published six times per year by the Sunset Publishing Corporation which was sold by Time Inc. in November 2017 to Regent, a private equity firm led by investor Michael Reinstein.
Sunset began in 1898as a promotional magazine for the Southern Pacific Railroad, designed to combat the negative "Wild West" stereotypes about California.
The Sunset Limited was the premier train on the Southern Pacific Railroad's Sunset Route, which ran between New Orleans and San Francisco (the train is still in operation—from Los Angeles—as part of the national Amtrak system). Sunset Magazine was started to be available onboard and at the station, in order to promote the West. It aimed to lure tourists onto the company's trains, entice guests to the railroad's resort (the Hotel Del Monte in Monterey), and possibly encourage these tourists to stay and buy land, since the Southern Pacific was the largest single landowner in California and Nevada.
The inaugural issue featured an essay about Yosemite, with photographs by noted geologist Joseph LeConte. There was information about train travel, as well as were social notes from Western resorts, such as this from Pasadena: "The aristocratic residence town of Southern California and rendezvous for the traveling upper ten has enjoyed a remarkably gay season and the hotel accommodations have been sorely taxed." Poetry featuring railroad themes and a later string of short stories in which characters swapped tall tales, always aboard a train, also highlighted travel by rail. Most of these early stories were penned by Paul Shoup, who later abandoned fiction to become president of the Southern Pacific.
On April 18, 1906, the 1906 San Francisco earthquake destroyed the Sunset offices. 's publishers: "This is to announce that by reason of the recent destruction by fire of the Sunset Magazine offices on April 18th, this Emergency Edition will be the only issue of the magazine for the month of May.… The priceless stock of drawing, photographs and engravings was burned.… In one day the accumulation and accomplishment of years were swept away".The May 1906 edition was a six-page emergency issue, in stark contrast to the 214-page April 1906 edition. The issue opened with a dire communiqué from E. H. Harriman, president of the Southern Pacific: "The earthquake on the morning of April 18th was the most severe that has occurred since San Francisco became a great city". Next came a message from Sunset
Soon, however, the magazine was trumpeting its hometown's revival, in articles like "San Francisco's Future" and "How Things Were Righted After the Fire of 1906". In "A San Francisco Pleasure Cure", an early story by Sinclair Lewis published in the magazine, a tired businessman revived himself through a visit to the rebuilt city.
Southern Pacific purchased the Portland-based Pacific Monthly in 1912, and merged it with Sunset, to form Sunset: The Pacific Monthly. By 1914, the magazine had built strong national circulation and reputation, and the Southern Pacific sold the magazine to William Woodhead & Co.,a group of employees who wished to continue the focus on the American West, but less corporate influence. The Theodore Roosevelt administration indicted the editor, writer, photographer, and aviator associated with a story entitled "Can the Panama Canal be destroyed from the air?" citing national security concerns; the magazine was still owned by the Southern Pacific when the story was published.
The publishers announced their ambitions in the December 1914 issue; among the promises were reporting from war correspondent Arthur Street, who the magazine sent to Asia to cover the impacts of war and the opening of the Panama Canal on the world; reporting in North America supported by the purchase of a new automobile; coverage of international expositions such as the Panama–Pacific International Exposition; responses to inquiries of a newly-established service bureau, to field questions from readers about relocating to the western U.S. and other matters; and a renewed commitment to fiction and photography.
By 1914, Sunset had begun to publish original articles, stories and poetry focusing on the West. The format resembled other national general interest magazines of the day such as Collier's and The Saturday Evening Post .The new owners sought to "make the magazine a vehicle of Western thought and to steer the magazine into a national market," according to Stanford University librarian Tomas Jaehn. Sunset reported on heavy political and economic issues; contributors included Stanford president David Starr Jordan discussing international affairs and future U.S. president Herbert Hoover discussing the League of Nations. Fiction and poetry became more ambitious, featuring authors such as Jack London, Dashiell Hammett, Mary Austin, and evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson.
Sunset cover art in its early years was of high quality, with the early 20th century being the golden age of magazine illustration.[ citation needed ] Contributors of cover art included Will James, Maynard Dixon, and Cornelia Barns.
In the 1920s, the magazine became unprofitable, as it grew thinner and its circulation dwindled. In 1929, Lawrence W. Lane, a former advertising executive with Better Homes and Gardens , purchased Sunset, and changed the format to its current Western lifestyle emphasis.The magazine became focused toward a female audience. The Lane family would own Sunset for the next 62 years.
During the Depression, weighty ruminations on politics and economics were replaced with frivolous articles like March 1935's "Little Toes, What Now?", which began "This is the season when all the little toes are going not to market, but to have a pedicure".
Eventually, a meatier magazine emerged. Sunset began "Kitchen Cabinet", a readers' recipes feature (still featured as "Reader Recipes"). Essays on home architecture became more specifically geared to the West, with a series of sumptuously photographed articles championing the Western ranch house. Travel and garden coverage grew similarly focused and specific. In 1932, Sunset was the first national magazine to publish separate editions for different parts of its circulation area, tailoring its gardening advice to each area.
Sunset eliminated the use of bylines, and articles were increasingly how-tos, giving it a voice of authority and efficiency. It was a successful formula: by 1938 the magazine was again profitable.
Under Lane's leadership, the company also produced a successful series of how-to home improvement and gardening books, which are still published today [ citation needed ].
Sunset initially treated World War II as if it were a temporary irritation, but it soon mobilized for war. One story featured newly minted aviation cadets at the Santa Ana Army Air Base. Aware that the federal government's victory garden tips did not always fit Western soils and climates, magazine editors planted their own 1-acre (4,000 m2) test plot near UC Berkeley so that they could give their own advice.
In 1943, Sunset devised a new motto: "The Magazine of Western Living."
At the end of World War II, Sunset presented a series featuring innovative plans for homes to be built once the war was won, by architects including Portland's Pietro Belluschi and Los Angeles's Harwell Hamilton Harris.
When Lane took over the magazine, the population of the West was booming. A few years later, the end of World War II brought an explosion of newcomers. Drawing on his experience from the East Coast-serving Better Homes and Gardens, he guessed correctly that these new Westerners would be hungry for information about how to travel, cook, cultivate, and build in their new environment.
For its first five decades, Sunset was headquartered in various downtown San Francisco office buildings. In 1951, the headquarters was moved to Menlo Park, California, a suburb located 25 miles (40 km) south of San Francisco. The 9-acre (36,000 m2) parcel was a remnant of a 19th-century estate owned by the Hopkins family. This land was originally a part of a grant to Don Jose Arguello, governor of Spanish California in 1815. Its new headquarters was designed by Cliff May, known for his designs of ranch-style houses, which had been featured in Sunset for two decades. May created a long, low, adobe homestead that surrounded a central courtyard. The central courtyard, or the Sunset Gardens, were designed by the landscape artist Thomas Church.
For a while, Sunset referred to the Menlo Park headquarters as the Laboratory of Western Living. Its test kitchen processes thousands of recipes a year. It tested its gardening advice in its 3,000 sq ft editorial test gardens, which was designed to achieve high performance in tight spaces. Roughly 50% of Sunset's garden photography was taken in this area.
Lane Publishing, including Sunset Magazine and books, was sold to Time Warner in 1990, and the company was renamed Sunset Publishing Corporation.A purchase price of $225 million for the magazine and its related assets was announced. The first issue of the magazine under Time Warner was published in August 1990.
In the 1990s, the franchise began to lose touch with its demographic, who viewed the magazine as something of their parents' era. Newer, fresher-looking lifestyle magazines, such as Martha Stewart Living and Real Simple , presented Sunset with competition. The magazine remained highly profitable, however, generating $28 million profit for Time Warner in 2000 on gross revenues of $78 million.
In 2001, Time Warner reorganized Sunset to be part of Southern Progress Corporation, best known for its similar home and lifestyle magazine Southern Living (its similarity to Sunset is no coincidence: its founders came out West to see how the Lanes did it in the early 1960s).[ citation needed ]. When Katie Tamony took over as editor-in-chief in 2001, she collaborated with new creative director Mia Daminato (former creative director for Australian-based Federal Publishing Company's Magazine Group) to create a new, more modern design.[ citation needed ]
The Menlo Park campus was sold to a San Francisco real estate development firm by Time Warner in 2014 for more than $75 million.
In June 2015, Sunset announced it would be moving its headquarters to Jack London Square (Oakland, California). The new offices opened in December 2015,and the magazine's outdoor kitchen and test gardens were relocated to Cornerstone Sonoma, a winery in nearby Sonoma County, California. The magazine's extensive archival collection, including numerous original photographs and administrative papers, would not be brought to the new Oakland location, and was acquired by Stanford University. After Sunset departed Menlo Park, its former campus sat vacant for three years until fintech startup Robinhood moved its headquarters there in mid-2018.
On November 30, 2017 Time Inc. sold Sunset to Regent, L.P. a global private equity firm led by Beverly Hills based investor Michael Reinstein.Sale price of the magazine, including both its assets and liabilities, was estimated at $12 million — a fraction of the publication's value during its heyday. After sale of the magazine to Regent, Sunset launched a round of personnel cuts, leaving it with fewer than 20 employees, a mere one-fifth of its staff just five years previously.
The publication has suffered a loss of advertising revenue in recent years, which in 2017 pushed the magazine's operating income into the red for the first time since 1938, with a loss of about $4 million posted on nearly $28 million in gross revenue.A cash-flow crisis resulted, with several freelance writers complaining in the Summer of 2017 that payment for published material had been delayed, with one particularly vocal writer noting that he had been forced to wait more than four months after invoicing to receive a check for his work.
The company additionally downgraded its offices, with staff moved in September 2018 from the Jack London Square offices to a less costly facility located several blocks away.Food preparation, an important part of the magazine's content, began to be done at an externally-located kitchen in Mountain View.
Since 1957, Sunset's Western Home Awards program, cosponsored by the American Institute of Architects, has introduced readers to works by Richard Neutra, Charles Moore, and Frank Gehry, among other notables.
The "House of Innovation" is an experimental showcase house, opened on September 8, 2006 in Alamo, California. It is a collaboration between Sunset and Popular Science . It is part of the "Idea House" program, originally launched in 1998.
Sunset's commentary has contributed to the debate on natural features including the Mojave Desert, the Tongass National Forest and the western U.S. National Parks.Occasionally, it has called for pro-environmental action, as it did with its 1969 article demanding a ban on DDT.
The Dumbarton Bridge is the southernmost of the highway bridges across San Francisco Bay in California. Carrying over 70,000 vehicles and about 118 pedestrian and bicycle crossings daily, it is the shortest bridge across San Francisco Bay at 1.63 miles. Its eastern end is in Fremont, near Newark in the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, and its western end is in Menlo Park. Bridging State Route 84 across the bay, it has three lanes each way and a separated bike/pedestrian lane along its south side. Like the San Mateo Bridge to the north, power lines parallel the bridge.
The San Francisco Peninsula is a peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area that separates San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean. On its northern tip is the City and County of San Francisco. Its southern base is in northern Santa Clara County, including the cities of Sunnyvale, Palo Alto, Mountain View, and Los Altos. Most of the Peninsula is occupied by San Mateo County, between San Francisco and Santa Clara counties, and including the cities and towns of Atherton, Belmont, Brisbane, Burlingame, Colma, Daly City, East Palo Alto, El Granada, Foster City, Hillsborough, Half Moon Bay, La Honda, Loma Mar, Los Altos, Menlo Park, Millbrae, Mountain View, Pacifica, Palo Alto, Pescadero, Portola Valley, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Mateo, South San Francisco, Sunnyvale, and Woodside.
Palo Alto is a charter city located in the northwestern corner of Santa Clara County, California, United States, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Palo Alto means tall stick in Spanish; the city is named after a coastal redwood tree called El Palo Alto.
The San Andreas Fault is a continental transform fault that extends roughly 1,200 kilometers (750 mi) through California. It forms the tectonic boundary between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate, and its motion is right-lateral strike-slip (horizontal). The fault divides into three segments, each with different characteristics and a different degree of earthquake risk. The slip rate along the fault ranges from 20 to 35 mm /yr. It was formed by a transform boundary.
Menlo Park is a city located at the eastern edge of San Mateo County within the San Francisco Bay Area of California in the United States. It is bordered by San Francisco Bay on the north and east; East Palo Alto, Palo Alto, and Stanford to the south; and Atherton, North Fair Oaks, and Redwood City to the west. Menlo Park is one of the most educated cities in California and the United States; nearly 70% of residents over the age of 25 have earned a bachelor's degree or higher. Menlo Park had 32,026 inhabitants according to the 2010 United States Census, which had grown to an estimated 34,698 inhabitants by 2019. The city is home to the corporate headquarters of Facebook, and is where Google and Round Table Pizza were founded.
Albert Wilson, was an American botanist, landscape architect, author, teacher and lecturer on gardening and landscaping, and a TV and radio talk show personality who wrote several books popularizing gardening, and an autobiography.
Menlo College is a private college specializing in business and located in Atherton, California.
The San Francisco and San Jose Railroad (SF&SJ) was a railroad which linked the communities of San Francisco and San Jose, California, running the length of the San Francisco Peninsula. The company incorporated in 1860 and was one of the first railroads to employ Chinese laborers in its construction. It opened the first portion of its route in 1863, completing the entire 49.5-mile (80 km) route in 1864. The company was consolidated with the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1870. Today, Caltrain and the Union Pacific Railroad continue to operate trains over the company's original route.
San Francisquito Creek is a creek that flows into southwest San Francisco Bay in California, United States. Historically it was called the Arroyo de San Francisco by Juan Bautista de Anza in 1776. San Francisquito Creek courses through the towns of Portola Valley and Woodside, as well as the cities of Menlo Park, Palo Alto, and East Palo Alto. The creek and its Los Trancos Creek tributary define the boundary between San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.
Palo Alto station is an intermodal transit center in Palo Alto, California. It is served by Caltrain regional rail service, SamTrans and Santa Clara VTA local bus service, Dumbarton Express regional bus service, the Stanford University Marguerite Shuttle, and several local shuttle services. Palo Alto is the second-busiest Caltrain station after San Francisco, averaging 7,764 weekday boardings by a 2018 count. The Caltrain station has two side platforms serving the two tracks of the Peninsula Subdivision and a nearby bus transfer plaza.
Donald Joseph McKay Russell was an American railroad executive. He was president of Southern Pacific Railroad from 1952–1964 and then chairman from 1964–1972. Russell was featured on the cover of Time on August 11, 1961 and Forbes on November 1, 1965.
Sunset Books is a book publishing company that operates as a part of Southern Progress Corporation's Oxmoor House book publishing division. The Sunset Books division was created in 1946 when Sunset Magazine created a separate book division to publish content from its magazines. The company operates from Southern Progress's Menlo Park, California office and from Southern Progress's Corporate Headquarters in Birmingham, Alabama.
Stanford Medicine traces its history back to 1858 when Elias Samuel Cooper, a physician in San Francisco, California, founded the first medical school in the Western United States. That school went through many changes, including a change of name to Cooper Medical College, a takeover by Stanford University in 1908, and a move from San Francisco to the Stanford campus near Palo Alto, California in 1959.
Laurence William Lane Jr. was an American magazine publisher, diplomat, and philanthropist.
Paul Shoup was an American businessman, president and later vice-chairman of the Southern Pacific Railroad in the 1920s and 1930s, a founding board member of the Stanford University School of Business, and founder of the community of Los Altos, California.
Nob Hill is a neighborhood of San Francisco, California that is known for its numerous luxury hotels and historic mansions. Nob Hill has historically served as a center of San Francisco's upper class. Nob Hill is among the highest-income neighborhoods in the United States, as well as one of the most desirable and expensive real estate markets in the country.
Timothy Hopkins was the adopted son of Central Pacific Railroad co-owner Mark Hopkins' widow, Mary Hopkins, and friend of another co-owner Leland Stanford and his wife, Jane. He was one of the founders of Palo Alto and a trustee of Stanford University for over 50 years. His estate is now the site of the Menlo Park Civic Center.
Charles Howard Shinn was a horticulturalist, author, inspector of California Experiment Stations, and forest ranger in California.
George Thomas Rockrise, FAIA, ASLA, AICP was an American architect, landscape architect, and urban planner of Japanese descent based in San Francisco, California. During his career he practiced both nationally and internationally, had a distinguished career in public service, and received numerous honors and awards.
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