Tag Archives: Sunnyvale Standard

100 Years ago – Jan 1918

Snippets from the Jan editions

One hundred years ago in January 1918, the United States had been at war for nine months. The citizens of Sunnyvale were considering two bond issues that were to be decided in a special election at the end of the month. Proposition A was to decide if the town should take on debt to buy property for a municipal park and public buildings while constructing roads, sidewalks, and planting trees. Proposition B was to decide if the town should buy a parcel of land for a fire engine house and construct it.

The war effort and what could be done at home was the topic of the day. A few months prior in 1917, President Woodrow Wilson had created the U.S. Food Administration (USFA) to manage the food reserves for the U.S. Army and allies. Although the mission was to keep troops fed, this required a massive intervention in the food habits of Americans. A popular campaign was in full force for citizens to find substitutes for foods that were high in demand, all done on a voluntary basis. Beef, pork, wheat, dairy products, and sugars were rationed and sent to soldiers abroad. The citizens of Sunnyvale were asked to do their part, and it was a matter of civic duty and a sense of pride to comply.

Above are a few snippets taken from the Sunnyvale Standard in January 1918. Unfortunately, there are no known copies of the weekly editions for February 1918 to check voter turnout and the results of the special election, but it’s likely those measures were approved.

100 years ago – Mar 1917

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.