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 7, 1917
There are clear bright skies over the city today. The high will reach 55° with the low near 41°. Last night, in commemoration of the crucifixion of Christ, huge crosses blazed forth from the sides of many of the city’s skyscrapers. The spectacle was accomplished by illuminating only certain office windows on specific floors in each building so the light formed a cross. The buildings involved included the Bell Telephone Building, the Curtis Building, United Gas Improvement Building, the Stock Exchange and the North American, Land Title, Commercial Trust, Widener and Lincoln buildings among others.
The war has not deterred those celebrating Easter at the sea shore. Crowds are reportedly pouring into Atlantic City. This year it’s not just the older set that is taking to the “Great Wooden Way”, college boys and girls and prep school students are everywhere enjoying a spring vacation. Of course all are looking forward to the grand promenade which will occur tomorrow on the boardwalk where the very latest in fashion will be on proud display.
The port of Philadelphia is closed to night traffic starting today. In fact all river traffic is prohibited from Fort Delaware north to Bristol from 6:00pm to 6:00am. There will also be regulation of the movement of ships during the day.
The Army General Staff has compiled figures calculating the expected recruiting needs to bring the army up to 1,000,000 men. The calculation shows that from Pennsylvania 99,324 men will be expected and that Philadelphia will need to provide 16,770 boys. In the city there are numerous recruiting stations now open. There are 9 stations each for the Army and Navy. The Marines have 5 stations. The Pennsylvania National Guard has stations at the 2 Armories and the Naval Coast Reserve has 6 stations.
The government has taken control of all commercial radio stations in the United States. The Navy will be given complete control of the 56 stations. All amateur wireless stations are to be closed and dismantled. There are about 200 of those in the Philadelphia and southern New Jersey area.
Finally, in what may be the first armed confrontation of the war, U.S. Marines took 353 Germans prisoner on Guam. The Germans were crew-members of a cruiser interned on the island. When approached by the Marines the Germans refused to surrender and instead blew up the ship. A few Germans were killed in the explosion. The remaining Germans are now in custody.
GET YOUR COPY OF PHILADELPHIA: THE WORLD WAR I YEARS BY CLICKING ON THE LINK BELOW.