Sunnyvale's Panorama of Progress Souvenir Booklet, published for the Sunnyvale's first Annual Civic Celebration, Panorama of Progress, which was conducted under the auspices of the Sunnyvale Chamber of Commerce, on May 17, 18, and 19, 1956. Written by Joe Cappels Jr.
This booklet includes an history of Sunnyvale, California as of 1956, and records the legend of the Ghost of Martin Murphy.
Martin Murphy Jr.. started it all in 1850 when he acquired approximately 5000 acres of the original 90,000 acre Rancho Pastoria de las Horregas, a land grant owned by Mariano Castro which extended from what now is Castro Station in Mountain View to Sunnyvale's Southern border. Irish born Murphy brought his home, around the cape and erected it, piece by piece, in the heart of this rich area. Fastened together with leather thongs and wooden pegs, it became the first frame house in California.
It is difficult for us to picture Sunnyvale as it was then. Known as Murphy's Station, the vast plot of land was clustered with fruit orchards and crops. So sparse was the population that persons living miles apart considered each other neighbors.
Murphy's Station was typically western America. It had the savage loneliness of near isolation, the gorgeous colors of mist-blue mountains and open sky, the radiance of blossom and fruit laden orchards, and the earthy tinge of brown and green grain fields. Its stillness was almost holy. Beneath this penetrating lethargy was the potential characteristic of all American pioneer lands. That in those days adventure slept quietly, excitement was lacking. Indians and soldiers fought no famous battles here, nor did famous men claim residence.
When Martin Murphy died his large estate was divided among six heirs. A prominent realtor, W. E. Grossman, sensing possible development, purchased a 200 acre share from Patrick Murphy in 1898 for $38,000.00.
Crossman invited industries to the area and even donated land for that purpose. A post office was established and the community was named Encinal. however an Oakland area had a similar name. Grossman, fearing confusion, peered across the fields in the bright sunshine and said, Let's call it Sunnyvale.
Railroad facilities made Sunnyvale a trading center, and within a decade, the young community assumed a progressive format. In 1912 the City of Sunnyvale was incorporated as a town site. Libby. McNeil, and Libby was among the first of the young industrial giants who selected Sunnyvale. A city newspaper was established. The population increased. Orchards gave way to homes and the nucleus of a mercantile district. On Saturday, April 5th, 1913 Sunnyvale's first civic celebration was held in honor of the city's one year anniversary of incorporation.
This pre-World War I period in American history brought to a conclusion the first progressive stage -in Sunnyvale's development. From this time until 1946 Sunnyvale rode with the national tide. It saw the rise in popularity of the automobile and air transportation. It watched the Charleston and Big Apple catch fancy. In 1912 amiable William H. Taft realized that the United States was becoming a great world power and inaugurated his policy of Dollar Diplomacy' to drive the point home. In 1946 Harry S. Truman found that world diplomacy wore an atomic bomb rather than a dollar sign on its sleeve. Changes occurred in educational techniques and social philosophies. An entire nation had come of age in a new era. But Sunnyvale? Well, not quite. It watched, it struggled, it learned. Through two hideous world wars it fought its way, waxing strong on the false economy of the second conflict, and falling into near oblivion when that economy was ruthlessly jerked away in 1946 at cessation of war-time production when the Hendy Iron Works terminated 7,500 employees.
At this point catastrophe struck an unprepared city. It started with Martin Murphy Jr. in l850; would it end in 1946? An alarmed citizenry said no. An alerted city management said no. In 1946 the Sunnyvale Chamber of Commerce was revitalized. New industries were coaxed into the area. in 1949 Sunnyvale became chartered and a council-manager city government was formed.
Growth had nothing to do with it from then on; Sunnyvale was not nurtured by chance advantages. From the despondence of near total collapse in 1945 Sunnyvale was steered by an energetic Chamber of Commerce and a progressive city management into channels, not of mere growth, but revolutionary civic and industrial expansion which have amazed the entire nation.
In 1939, during the early period of national war tension, Sunnyvale had 3094 people. In 1949, Sunnyvale claimed 9368. The population in 1956 is approximately 30,099.
Major industries have moved into Sunnyvale so swiftly that printed lists become outdated before they leave the presses. Population increase defies stability of census figures; by actual statistical analysis, one new person moves into Sunnyvale every fifteen minutes of the standard work week. From major cities throughout the world representatives have come to investigate Sunnyvale. Why has this once sleepy little Community reached such a pinnacle of civic achievement? Why has Sunnyvale become an ever expanding metropolitan hub? What has Sunnyvale got that other Cities do not have? Natures endowments alone are not the answer.
The secret is service! A Chamber of Commerce that does things, fosters public relations, tempts big business, stimulates internal trade, keeps Sunnyvale's citizenry well informed, provides information swiftly, courteously and accurately. The secret is planning! A farsighted civic government that anticipates the needs of its people and its community, an organization that thinks in large terms.
The secret is administration! City leaders who cooperate, coordinate, and act. Quietly in the background are the administrators whose skill and hard work developed major policies which shaped a man-made destiny into a course of unparalleled progress.
A planned industrial area, clean and with every conceivable facility has made Sunnyvale a haven for alert manufacturing organizations. An expanded shopping district with large parking lots, modern stores, and conveniences of location delight the Sunnyvale shopper with quality and variety of merchandise. Wide streets, landscaped and protected by zoning make Sunnyvale's residential districts particularly healthy and pleasant for family living. And modern schools, medical services, and business and professional organizations of all kind serve the ever increasing population and industrial expansion program.
These are days of pioneering excitement for Sunnyvale. But perhaps we missed the greatest part of the adventure. It was a long ride, and we didn't even notice the view. You see, Sunnyvale isn't traveling the road to be a potent city any longer. Sunnyvale has arrived.
Within a few short years Sunnyvale's modernization and expansion program reached proportions demanding national attention. Today, at a climax in its current spurt of progress, this unique city boasts a population excessive of 30000 with an approximate annual growth exceeding 7,000 persons. Sunnyvale spiraled rapidly upward from 4 industries in 1946 to 44 in 1956 with several more preparing to move into Sunnyvale's industrial area. A large number of these industries are vital factors in the economic picture of the United States; they are all important to the well being of our city. Their impact may be emphasized by contrasting Sunnyvale's $8,000,000.00 1946 peak payroll against the present payroll of over $30,000,000.00. Casual observation indicates that this figure will increase within the next two years with exasperatingly swift and disproportionate acceleration. Due to advance planning by city administrators Sunnyvale's excellent economic balance will preserve itself regardless of payroll changes.
Much of the current industrial influx is directly traceable to Sunnyvale's Chamber of Commerce whose invitations brought new plants to Sunnyvale increasing the general revenue, expanding the retail market, and affording supplementary assistance to existing industries. Of major importance, of course, is the industrial plan itself which prohibits smoke stacks, requires off-street parking, keeps the industrial zone orderly, clean and conducive to community welfare. Fine roads and genera] transportation facilities, excellent city utilities and a
host of other important considerations, carefully developed by city management, reinforced the Chamber's invitations.
As new industries moved in, retail outlets grew to meet the needs of the population increase. Parallel to this new homes were built in select residential areas. Wide modern streets were specified. The city provided
and planted trees and shrubs. A warm friendly atmosphere of suburban landscaping adds charm to the city. More families mean more children. Well aware that the future of our nation and our community rests in building solid citizenship, Sunnyvale placed emphasis on family life, on schools, parks, and other educational and recreational tools. No matter how large this city becomes, it is understood that the basic social unit is the family and Sunnyvale's guiding hand must aid and protect it. Sixteen churches are now active in Sunnyvale and more are on the way. A new school classroom is completed each week! Community recreational programs are activated. Concerts, children's games, play periods and adult sports are available to residents and visitors alike. And only minutes away are the sunswept beaches of Santa Cruz and the cool majesty of the great redwood forests. Sunnyvale Operates under a streamlined Council-Manager form 0f government and boasts a unified Public Safety Department of trained police officers and firemen. Every possible civic utility is available in efficient, modern setting. A daily newspaper of nationally recognized merit is published in Sunnyvale. It is supplemented by circulation of every major news publication released from surrounding metropolitan areas. Sunnyvale residents receive tine radio and television reception from local stations and from primary regional transmission points. Outstanding universities serving Sunnyvale include -Stanford University. Santa Clara University, University of California, and San lose State. Various other colleges are within a short driving range of Sunnyvale. The offerings of the entire bay area are brought to a sharp focal point in Sunnyvale. Conveniently located on both the historic El Camino Highway and Bayshore Highway, Sunnyvale is also serviced by trains and buses. World wide air and boat transportation is readily available.
An understanding Justice Court serves the people wisely, handles problems quickly, and efficiently. Public utilities are slanted directly toward constant public welfare.
As industries, retail stores, and people moved into Sunnyvale a wide variety of professional units arose within the city to service them. Doctors, lawyers, specialized business 'operations quickly took place as pert of the city scene.
A masterpiece of planning, Sunnyvale's downtown shopping district is compactly arranged in a centralized area with abundant parking space. Every type of merchandise is within easy walking distance of the main shopping points. Ideally arranged in various portions of the residential district are small, balanced shopping areas. Sunnyvale's shops, markets, and department stores are among the most modern in the world.
Having so much beauty and convenience, Sunnyvale has still not become unduly proud. The wholesome humility of a pioneering American community has remained fresh in the personality of the city and its residents. Despite its sudden display of power, of prestige, and decided potential Sunnyvale has lost none of the friendly atmosphere characteristic of a happily united small town. Though now a city of influence, residents still call their city manager and chamber of commerce secretary by their first names, consider the city hail and parks as their own personal property, look upon public officials as their friendly employees. A large number of Chamber of Commerce Committees investigate civic conditions, make recommendations and take remedial action. Such Committees, under the leadership of select citizens, hove contributed immeasurably to the improvements which have made Sunnyvale a haven for industry, retail stores, and residential life.
Paid employees didn't do it. They helped, of course. Their ability and foresight formed the pattern. That there are hundreds of Americans right here in Sunnyvale whose active participation in various phases of the expansion program made possible the city we have today.
Who are they? Well, let's see. Some of them are executives. Top salaried personnel in key positions with big companies volunteered their knowledge and their invaluable time for committees, sub-committees, boards. They waded through the red tape, sat through sessions of statistics, of oratory, or cold argument. And then there are professional people. They gave freely of their painstakingly acquired skills, and their experience. And there are merchants who spent long hours at hard work after they had completed a tedious working day, or interrupted their daily labor to take another burden for the advancement of their city. And the special trades and crafts were amply represented. They're the workers we depend upon in daily life, and can't do without! Can we measure their contributions to our city? They asked no payment from the taxpayers' money. Unobtrusively they did their job.
Too numerous to name, too important to be ignored they deserve Sunnyvale's tribute, these good folks who, throughout our City's history gave so much and are still giving.
I don't know this for a fact, but I'm told that during late night hours, a shadowy figure appears occasionally under the trees around the Murphy estate. It glides mournfully around the big old house, and then seems to float off toward Sunnyvale's downtown district. Standing by the Southern Pacific tracks, it nods its ghostly head, mutters softly with an Irish brogue, and peers down Murphy Avenue, deserted at that hour. Does it see acres of glorious fruit trees and rich crops, now removed? or does it see a thriving metropolitan community reflecting all that Sunnyvale has become? I think it sees the latter because a ghostly tear glistens on the pale grey cheek, and the Irish brogue, in rhythm with the nodding head, seems to say, "Well done, well done!" After a few moments, the shade silently drifts back to the Murphy estate and, before dawn, it vanishes entirely. Folks say it's old Martin Murphy. Now, I say, I don't know this for a fact, but some night, during the late, late hours, why not pause as you pass the Murphy estate. Possibly, in the murky, historic shadows, you just might see something!