In 1946, County Welfare Director, W.M. Pennycook, and the County Judge came up with a plan -- the first to be adopted in the nation -- where children 12 years and under, who were from broken families and were temporarily homeless, would be sent to "Sunshine Lodge" for several days or several weeks, at the most, instead of to private homes or an institution where they would normally have been placed. There they would be tenderly and sympathetically cared for until definite arrangements could be made for their care.
A handsome brick building on 15 acres of what was originally the Jefferson County Poor Farm was completely renovated and furnished for the children. The bright, cheery building was capable of housing 30 children and a supervisory staff, and a specially devised playground was built on the expansive grounds. Sunshine Lodge was a cooperative effort, utilizing the contributions of all agencies interested in child welfare, including fraternal and civic organizations as well as individuals.