The history of a community is found in the pages of its newspaper, the deaths, births, weddings and all the rest.
In the coming year, The Sunnyside Sun will be reflecting on this community’s history by the decade, covering the past 100 years -1920 to 2020, with a new weekly column “I saw it in the Sun.” There will also be some hints of what went on in 1910, with illustrations and photographs.
For those who are interested in the actual history of Sunnyside and the surrounding area, the pages of the newspapers are a place to start. For example:
Jan. 8, 1920 — Over $11,000 ,000 from Sunnyside project — J.G. Heinz, assistant manager of the Sunnyside project of the United States Reclamation System, has just finished the crop census and the value of same for 1919, and his report will be forwarded to Washington, D.C., will acquaint officials there that over $11,000,000 was produced from the lands under the Sunnyside project. The Sun promised to print the full report in the following week’s edition.
Jan. 9, 1930 — Sunnyside to Spend $223,000; Four Large Projects to Start Work Within 60 Days — The northeast corner of Sixth Street and Edison Avenue, will be changed completely according to architect drawing for a new business which would house local attorney offices. A new water system, new streetlights and a new hotel east of Planters Hotel on Seventh Street and Decatur Avenue, were also on the drawing board for 1930.
Jan. 11, 1940 — Leaders point out community’s needs — What does Sunnyside need during 1940. That was the question put to 26 businessmen and women. All agreed that one of the primary needs of the community is an electric sign at the east end of Edison where it meets the state highway. Many pointed out that on dark nights, natives even have a hard time finding the road, not to mention strangers. More sidewalks, a hospital, and industrial plants for their payrolls were also wanted.
Jan. 12, 1950 — New City Ordinance Narrows 11th Street — An ordinance passed by the city council reduced the width of 11th Street between Edison and Blaine Avenues to 60 feet. Previously, the legal width had been 70 feet. The change was made due to a citizens’ petition to the city to cut the street to 50 feet. But when it was explained that the figure would include sidewalks, and establish a boundary for future improvements, the citizens compromised.
Jan. 8, 1960 — Civic improvements proposals heard — Sunnyside City Councilwoman Mrs. Hobert Bond presented the preliminary architect drawings for the proposed library to the council city. The plans called for a separate library building in the overall unit of city hall, fire station and library.
First 1960 baby — Mr. and Mrs. Larry Lawson of Sunnyside are the parents of the first baby born in Sunnyside in the new year. The 8-pounds, 11 ounces boy was born at 11:12 p.m. Jan. 1, 1960.
Jan. 8, 1970 — Police hires woman — Mrs. Lewis (Katherine) Gehrts began duties as police matron/clerk Jan. 1. She was to oversee the 4-p.m. to midnight shift and will work with Mrs. Aldena Graham, police matron on the day shift. She is the mother of 10 children and a life-long resident of the Lower Valley.
Jan. 9, 1980 — Cheap Chicken — Akins Thrift in the Eastway Shopping Center was advertising a two-pound fried chicken for $1.99 – you cook.
The New Year baby, Conrad, arrived Friday, Jan. 4 to Mr. and Mrs. Greg Kinsey of Scoon Road, at Valley Memorial Hospital. A baby girl, Karen, was born Jan. 3 to Mr. and Mrs. William Justus of Grandview at Sunnyside General Hospital.
Jan. 2, 1990 — Company gets reprieve: River Processing allowed to use cash collateral — River Processing was granted a reprieve by the Federal Bankruptcy Court when it allowed the apple dehydrating firm to use its cash collateral for operations through Jan. 27 (1990). The court ruled that the River Processing could use $384,000 cash to continue operations. The firm was owing monies to suppliers, apple growers, and was in the rears for rent payments to the Port of Sunnyside.
Jan. 8, 2000 — Fonfara new city manager — Finally Sunnyside has a new city manager – Dave Fonfara, the current director of the Sunnyside Inc., was named city manager after several weeks of interviewing prospective candidates.
City council’s first order of business was to swear in Councilman Errol Brown and Mayor Ed Prilucik into office.
The second order of business was to dip into the city reserves, in the amount of $15,000, although in December the council had been adamant about not dipping into the city’s reserves.
Jan. 5, 2010 — Golden Pheasant owners bid farewell; Landmark Sunnyside eatery for sale — After 57 years in downtown Sunnyside, the Golden Pheasant Restaurant has closed. Owners Sing Wang and Marina Louie, along with their son Kyle, shuttered the eatery on the last day of business New Year’s Eve, 2009. The restaurant was established in 1952 by the Louis Family and co-owners Leo Yee, Calvin Chin and Wayne Chin. The giant neon Golden Pheasant landmark went dark on Jan. 1.