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 – THURSDAY, OCTOBER 28, 1915
The forecast today calls for fair skies with gentle breezes from the south. The high today will be 68° with the low tonight near 40°.
An event of unimaginable heartache and tragedy took place this morning in Peabody, Massachusetts about 30 miles north of Boston. While morning prayers were being said at St. John the Baptist parochial school a fire originating in the basement began to spread. Within 15 minutes the school was engulfed and all means of escape were cut off. As of now 21 children are thought dead with 9 still missing. All the dead are girls and range in age from 6 to 17.
Mothers who rushed to the school were inconsolable, filled with terror and grief. One woman, finding the charred remains of her child has, according to police and firemen, gone insane. Little children, some with their clothes burned off walked through the crowd in a daze with vacant stares. The school is completely destroyed. Because the fire moved so quickly there was little for the firemen to do when they arrived except shift through the charred and still smoldering building looking for bodies. The school’s principal, Father Murphy, said he believes there are other children to be found on the 3rd floor that did not make it to safety. There were 600 children in the school when the fire broke out.
Here in high school football today Germantown Friends beat Chestnut Hill Academy 14 to 0. And although Central High did not play today they did receive a gift. Richard Gimbel, on behalf of his father Ellis, presented the team with a new tackling dummy. The Gimbel family are staunch supporters of the high school game. In soccer Central beat West Philadelphia 1 to 0 and Northeast took down Frankford 6 to 0. In Women’s field hockey, Philadelphia defeated Merion 9 to 3 and Germantown beat Lansdown 6 to 2.
The Prime Minister of France, René Viviani, has resigned from office leading to the collapse of the entire cabinet. The President of the Republic, Raymond Poincaré, immediately offered the position to Aristide Briand, a Socialist, who accepted and began forming a new cabinet. Viviani’s resignation is blamed on the current crisis in the Balkans. At the front the French are advancing along a road from Arras to Lille blasting German positions as they proceed. And in the Balkans French troops have occupied 2 Servian towns driving the Bulgarians from them. They have also invaded Bulgaria itself and occupied the town of Strumnitza.
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