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 often for new updates.
To share your family or neighborhood stories, please email PhillyWWIyears@gmail.com
TODAY IN PHILADELPHIA – SATURDAY, JULY 24, 1915
There will be clear skies over the city today with the occasional fluffy white clouds rolling by. The high will reach about 78° with the low tonight around 63°.
In national news, a terrible tragedy has occurred in Chicago this morning as the steamship Eastland carrying 2500 passengers, capsized while in dock on the Chicago River. The screaming of women and children from the sinking ship could be heard all along the shore. The ship was carrying employees of the Western Electric Company and their families on their way to a company picnic along with hundreds of others just out for a Saturday of fun and amusement. At about 7:10am the ship began listing. The crew attempted to stabilize the vessel but to no avail. At 7:28am the ship lurched to port and rolled completely over touching bottom and then rolling back and settling on its side (shown below).
Hundreds of people on dock rushed to try and rescue the passengers. Other boats and ships in the area also went to the scene to assist. Although hundreds were saved, hundreds more drowned as they were trapped in the staterooms and lounges in the lower decks. Throughout the day men were cutting through the ship’s hull with acetylene torches and steel saws to try and reach survivors. Stores along the waterfront were used to care for the injured until they could be transported to local hospitals. Every private automobile in the area was used for transport because there are not enough police and fire vehicles to do the job. Warehouses along the waterfront are being used to hold the bodies of the dead. [Editor’s Note: The final death toll on the Eastland was 844 passengers including 22 entire families and 4 crewmen. The Eastland was the single deadliest event to occur in Chicago. An estimated 300 died in the Great Chicago Fire and 600 were killed in 1903 in the Iroquois Theater fire.]
In local news, City Solicitor Ryan has cleared the way for the construction of a new central library to be located at 19th & Vine Streets. The structure will be the 1st public building erected on the Parkway. The construction has been delayed pending Solicitor Ryan’s authorization for the use of a $1,000,000.00 loan taken in 1898.
In baseball, at National League Park the Phillies took both games of a doubleheader from the Reds today. In the opener “Alexander the Great” pitched his 2nd shutout in a row winning his 19th game of the season as the Phillies won 4 to 0. The 2nd game came very close to being a shutout. But the Reds scored 1 run in the 9th denying Eppa Rixey that prize. But he did get the win as the Phillies clubbed home 13 runs and beat the Reds 13 to 1. It was a very different story out in Cleveland where the A’s were swept in their doubleheader with the Indians 4 to3 and 12 to 4.
GET YOUR COPY OF PHILADELPHIA: THE WORLD WAR I YEARS AT AMAZON.COM, BARNES & NOBLE AND OTHER BOOK STORES OR JUST CLICK THE LINK BELOW.