100 years ago, Sunnyvale had been an official town for five years and according to the US census, the population was less than 1,600. The local newspaper, the Sunnyvale Standard, was owned and operated by W.K. Roberts, and was published once a week on Fridays.
Reading several issues of the Sunnyvale Standard from March and April 1917, it’s possible to conceptualize some of the concerns and events shaping people’s lives. In national news, the country was gearing up for war. The US entered WWI on April 6, 1917. In his editorial called Produce Food and be Patriotic, Mr. Roberts says, “[W]e can justly feel that our individual efforts in the production of foodstuffs, even though they be eaten by ourselves, is as patriotic as the production of bullets or flags to be sent to the front.”
Locally, the worry was about the slow growth of the town. Though many workers came in the summers to work in the orchards and canneries, there was concern that businesses were not growing quickly enough, due to a combination of factors including “streets being in bad condition” causing local merchants to lose trade, and cheap transportation to San José, which encouraged people to shop in the neighboring town’s large stores.
The Sunnyvale library has copies of the Sunnyvale Standard available to anyone interested. Also, issues can be found online at the Sunnyvale history section at the library’s website: http://sunnyvale.ca.gov/Departments/SunnyvalePublicLibrary.aspx
Meanwhile, here are a few clippings and an ad taken from editions in the months of March and April 1917.