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 – SATURDAY, APRIL 21, 1917
There will be rain today with unseasonably warm temperatures. The high will be 80° with the low near 53°. The 1st Regiment of the Pennsylvania National Guard has set up a field camp at 37th & Ludlow Streets for open air training. Civilians are welcome to visit and watch the drills.
The Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades in Media held its graduation ceremonies this afternoon. Sixty students received diplomas in agriculture, bricklaying, carpentry, machinist work, engineering and pattern making. The graduation was held in the school’s auditorium and presided over by Mr. John Wanamaker, chairman of the board of the school. The school takes pride in the fact that every young man who graduated is guaranteed a position and all had received between 3 and 6 employment offers before today.
Over in Camden today 10,000 people assembled at the 3rd Regiment Armory, Haddon Avenue & Mickle Streets to rally in support of the President’s call for conscription. The crowd included members of fraternal and veterans organizations and workers from the large industrial factories in the city. Virtually everyone carried an American flag. Speeches were delivered by Mayor Charles Ellis, Senator James Watson of Montana and Dr. Russell Conwell president of Temple University among others. The crowd also joined in the singing of many patriotic songs.
There were dozens of flag raising ceremonies and festivals around the city today. Businesses, churches, schools, civic and veterans organizations throughout Philadelphia took time to raise “Old Glory” high and pledge their loyalty to America. Perhaps no ceremony was more moving than that at the Pennsylvania Workingmen’s Home for the Blind, 36th & Lancaster Avenue.
Blind men and women from the Home were joined by others from the Overbrook School for the Blind, the Industrial Home for Blind Women and the Chapin Home. A new large American flag was to be raised but before its raising the men and women ran their hands over the flag to “see it” in their own way. There were songs from the Overbrook boys’ quartet and speeches from dignitaries prior to the flag being raised. A brochure for the event was printed with raised letters and a promise from the blind declaring “We pledge 1000 brooms a day to sweep monarchy from the earth”.
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