Sun Seekers: The Cure of California
Lyra Kilston, Ananda Pellerin
Atelier Éditions, 2019
Sunlight was once considered medicinal, a substance that doctors prescribed and architects summoned indoors with bold new designs. Around the turn of the 20th century, sun-drenched locales like Southern California proved an ideal testing ground for unorthodox thinking about healthy living, from diet to fitness to housing. The region’s celebrated climate and untamed nature lured waves of newcomers—health-seekers, iconoclasts, dropouts—all seeking antidotes to physical and civilizational ailments.
Their search led to remarkable curiosities like the “Health House,” a helio-therapeutic modern home; the world’s first raw vegan cafeteria; and a group of eccentric barefoot men who camped out in the hills and canyons, getting back to nature long before the 1960s. Lyra Kilston revisits these lesser-known histories and unusual characters, tracing the colorful and surprising origins of how the region became a famed magnet for healthy living.