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. So, check back often for new editions. To share your family or neighborhood stories, please email PhillyWWIyears@gmail.com
TODAY IN PHILADELPHIA – THURSDAY, APRIL 12, 1917
There will be cloudy skies over the city and region today with possible rain this afternoon and evening. The high will reach 68° with the low about 42°.
In news concerning the Eddystone disaster, arrests have been made of 4 people, all Germans, in Mount Vernon, New York. One of them, Hans Ehret, reportedly has confessed that he and three other men were involved. Ehret confessed after several hours of interrogation. At the factory experts from the War Department have arrived to assist in the investigation. These agents are well versed in ordnance and will attempt to determine whether the explosion was the result of sabotage.
At 11:00am tomorrow a community funeral will be held at the Chester Rural Cemetery for those, as yet, unidentified victims of the explosion. At least 25,000 workers and neighbors of the plant are expected to attend. Along with them will be those families who lost someone in this tragedy but whose remains cannot be identified.
In an effort to spur recruitment Marines accompanied by a band from the Navy Yard paraded up Broad Street (shown below) from Lombard to Chestnut then down to Independence Hall. From there they marched up Market to Broad and then to Arch where a large mess tent had been erected. Thousands of citizens watched the parade from sidewalks and office windows. At Arch Street, inspired by the spectacle, quite a few young men decided to join the Corps.
The American Philosophical Society opened its general meeting today at its headquarters at Independence Square. Philosophers from around the country are attending the gathering. The meeting was opened with a remarkable presentation by Dr. Lightner Witmer of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Witmer spoke on his theory of the diagnostic method of training intelligence into the feeble minded.
Dr. Witmer presented a 31/2 year old boy who was brought to him 14 months ago. The child had been diagnosed as feeble minded. When brought to the Doctor the boy would fall down and lay in a prostrate position. He could not talk or understand language. But now after Dr. Witmer’s training the child can recognize written words, use gestures to recite poems and act with more intelligence than children considered normal from birth. Dr. Witmer’s method involved intensive, constant, daily training with 5 teachers and 2 nurses.
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