This survey of the 1907 Santa Rosa newspapers concludes with 75 posts. I’m dismayed that it’s still taking about a calendar year to document 12 months in this history, particularly since 1907 was a year with few earth-shaking local events. My only excuse is that there were a few other distractions that competed for my writing and research time.
This was a year mostly remembered historically for the Bank Panic of 1907, which led some in Sonoma County to bury their cash in the backyard rather than trust it in banks. Locally, the big news of the year was that Santa Rosa legalized prostitution. As you might expect, the respectable citizens of the town went nuts; church meetings were held to express outrage, and at the end of the year Miss Lou Farmer won a lawsuit against a “female boarding house” in her neighborhood.
Luther Burbank’s entanglements that year came to resemble a French bedroom farce, with no fewer than four suitors pursuing his attention. Besides the researcher from the Carnegie Institution, there was a biographer and a tag-team of writers from a Midwestern publisher who had a deal with Burbank for a 10-volume encyclopedia on his work. Where a Parisian comedy might have an unexpected act 3 plot twist, it was announced near the end of 1907 that plans were dropped for creation of a “Burbank Institute” in Sonoma County – although it’s unclear if such an institution was actually in the works. What?
For the Oates family, this was probably their last golden year. There were at least four parties at Comstock House in 1907, and both Wyatt and Mattie were very active in their social circles.
As a final salute to 1907, shown below is the oddest newspaper advertisement of the year (CLICK to enlarge). Santa Rosa Republican editor Allan Lemmon seemed to panic when he had too little copy to fill his pages; layout might suddenly shift to double or triple spacing, and once a large display ad was presented in someone’s handwritten scrawl.
Now on to 1908: The Comstocks arrive!