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 – WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18, 1917
There will be cloudy skies over the city today and tonight with the probability of light rain. Today’s high will be 73° with the low tonight about 46°. The city of Doylestown announced today that it will distribute 10,000 cabbage plants to it residents. The city will ask people to grow the cabbages in their back yards in anticipation of food shortages next fall.
The Philadelphia office of the United States Department of Justice today notified all aliens from enemy powers living within ½ mile of any fort, camp, arsenal, aircraft station, munitions factory or the Navy Yard to relocate before June 1. Any alien who refuses to move will be summarily arrested.
A Philadelphia man and another from Collingswood, New Jersey have been badly wounded in France. The men are Lieutenant Edwin Abbey (shown below) of 2510 South 19th Street and Lieutenant Launcelot Johnson of 637 Park Avenue, Collingswood. Both men enlisted with the Canadian Army. Lt. Abbey is a 1912 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania where he received his degree in civil engineering. He enlisted in 1915. Lt. Johnson was born in England but has lived in America since he was 3 years old. He is married and has a daughter who was born after he was shipped overseas. Both men were wounded in the battle of Vimy Ridge.
From Boston comes the report of heavy gunfire off Cape Cod last night. Three Coast Guard stations reported the firing to the Naval Headquarters in Boston. It is thought the firing may be between German and British ships since no engagement of American ships has been reported. Also there are reports from Virginia, Alabama and Georgia that German agents are urging negroes to become traitors to this country. Supposedly the Germans are disguising themselves as gypsies and infiltrating negro communities as fortune tellers. Once they have the confidence of the colored people they tell them that if America wins the war they will be returned to slavery.
An enormous battle is taking place on a 100 mile front from Dixmude, Belgium to Rheims, France. British and French forces are attacking along the Hindenburg line at 5 key points. The areas are Lens, Douai, Cambrai, St. Quentin and Laon. It is estimated that the Germans have about 400,000 men in 20 divisions defending the line. Reports from Russia are that Nicholas Romanov, former Czar, and his wife Alexandra are now being held incommunicado.
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