On this page we will look back at life in the city during the war years. Here we will provide the visitor with the stories making the news, what was happening in sports and entertainment, city politics, the social scene and the prominent people at the time. We will also recount the events occurring in the war on that day. So, check back each day for new editions.
To share your family or neighborhood stories, please email PhillyWWIyears@gmail.com
TODAY IN PHILADELPHIA – SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 1915
There will be fair skies over the city today but the heat continues. The high today will reach 90° with the low about 70°.
Exclaiming “We are making history here today” Mayor Rudolph Blankenburg officially began Philadelphia’s new rapid transit program. The Mayor dug the first shovelful of dirt from City Hall Plaza where the initial section of the Broad Street subway is to be built (shown below). Members of both houses of City Councils, city officials and thousands of citizens attend the ground breaking and gave the Mayor a hearty cheer when he lifted the dirt. After speeches by the Mayor and Transit Director Taylor, the Municipal Band entertained the crowd.
A solemn ceremony will take place this afternoon when the bones of 7 Colonial soldiers will be buried at the Northeast corner of Washington Square, 6th & Walnut Street. The burial will take place at 2:30pm. A plain pine coffin containing all the bones will be lowered into the ground and buried. The bones were found during the excavation for a new sewer line. It is believed that the men died while being held as prisoners of war at the British prison which was then at the Southeast corner of 6th & Walnut. The photograph below shows the 2 men who took charge of the remains when they were uncovered, George Jeffery, the foreman of the company building the sewer and M.F. Morgan one of the engineers.
The wide green lawn on the south side of Methodist Hospital, Broad & Ritner Streets is decorated with hundreds of brightly glowing Japanese lanterns and electric lights for the Hospital’s 9th annual carnival. The carnival will open today and continue till next Tuesday. It is hoped that at least $3,000.00 will be raised for the Hospital’s expense fund. There are amusements planned for both old and young, booths manned by pretty girls selling food and refreshments and music for dancing.
In entertainment this weekend there are many offerings on both the stage and the screen. On stage at the Walnut, 9th & Walnut Streets, Richard Buhler leads a huge cast in “The Sign of the Cross”. In vaudeville, Nixon’s Colonial Theatre, Germantown and Maplewood Avenues, has opened for the season with matinees at 2:30 and evening shows at 7:00pm and 9:00pm. And at Dumont’s, 9th & Arch Streets, Dumont’s Minstrels appear in matinee and evening shows. Admission starts at .10¢.
Numerous motion pictures are on display throughout the city. Here are just a few. In North Philadelphia at the Bluebird, Broad & Susquehanna Avenue, John Barrymore starts in “The Dictator”. In West Philadelphia at the Lincoln, 49th & Woodland, William Farnum starts in Lubin Studio’s “The Dead Soul”. In Roxborough at the Roxborough Theatre, Manayunk & Conarroe Street, Lillian Russell stars in “Wildfire”. In Northwest Philadelphia at the Park Theatre, Ridge & Dauphin Streets, Tyrone Power stars in “A Texas Steer”. And at the Forrest Theatre, Broad & Locust, for the 2nd straight week “The Birth of A Nation” is being shown twice daily.
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