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 – MONDAY, APRIL 9, 1917
Well winter has not finished with us yet. Snow and lots of it fell throughout the region from Easter afternoon until this morning. Over 81/2 inches in Philadelphia cancelled Easter outdoor celebrations and promenades. Many streets are impassible today. The storm brought 30mph winds and took down trees and telegraph lines. Train and trolley movements are greatly delayed. However by Noon today the sky was clear and bright. The high today will reach 43° with the low tonight about 28°.
The religious leaders of this city are fully supporting the war effort. The head of the Roman Catholic Church here, Archbishop Edward Prendergast, (shown below), has released a letter to the clergy and laity of the diocese of Philadelphia stating that all Catholics here owe allegiance to America and must comport themselves with loyalty and patriotism whether native born or immigrant. The Archbishop explained that Catholics helped to establish this “home of freedom” and today’s faithful must act in a way worthy of their forebears’ work and sacrifice. Protestant leaders have also released similar letters to their congregations.
John Finnegan of 71 West Sharpnack Street may be the youngest Philadelphian to enlist so far. Young Johnny is a 15 year old, broad shouldered, husky fellow who joined at the Army recruiting station at Germantown and Chelten Avenues. He was accompanied by his mother who said she hated to see her boy go to war but both she and he believe he must do his part for his country.
In war news, The Austro-Hungarian Empire today officially broke off diplomatic relations with the United States. The feeling in Washington is that another of Germany’s allies, the Kingdom of Bulgaria, will soon follow suit. The position of the Ottoman Empire is still unknown. Also in Washington the Congress will be asked to consider a 6 billion dollar war plan including taxes, bond issues and loans.
Some Latin American nations appear to be following the United States to war. Yesterday Cuba declared war on German and promised up to 15,000 men for the fight. Argentina and Chile may soon follow. And Brazil is also now considering war since the sinking of the Brazilian steamship “Parana” last week by submarine and the subsequent loss of life.
In sports today the Phillies scheduled game in Washington and the Athletics game in Baltimore were called off due to the snowstorm. Both Philadelphia teams will arrive back home tomorrow to make final preparations for the season which opens April 11.
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