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 AUGUST 1, 1917
The heat wave continues in this city and throughout the region. Today’s temperature is expected to reach 94° with the low around 82°. As of today, 40 deaths in the city have been directly linked to the heat. The city morgue is filled to near capacity. Of the 20 vaults used for temporary storage of bodies, 19 are filled. A number of large stores in center city closed at noon for the safety of their employees. On some streets the thermostats registered a temperature of 114° this afternoon.
The first scheduled community sing will be held tonight at Stinger Park, 33rd & Race Streets. Mr. Jerry Shaw, the well-known tenor, will lead the singing. The program will consist of patriotic songs and standard favorites. In the future there will be nightly community singing in all the city parks organized by the Community Singing Association and the Board of Education.
The Philadelphia Home Defense Police have been given the additional power of protecting citizens against treasonable speech. The police will be authorized to arrest those speaking against the government. This power will mainly be enforced against enemy aliens but can be used against other alien residents and citizens as well. At the Navy Yard, American sailors have put the “German village” (shown below) to the torch. The village was built as living quarters by German sailors from the ships “Eitel Friedrich” and “Kronprinz Wilhelm” who were interned at the Yard. The German sailors were sent to Camp Oglethorpe, Georgia in March.
In sports, tonight at Shibe Park there will be boxing under the stars. The featured match will be lightweights Lew Tendler of Southwark against Terry McGovern of Tioga. And not just city bragging rights are on the line. The winner will have a shot at Benny Leonard for the national championship title. Four other fights are on the card which begins at 8:30pm. In baseball this afternoon at Shibe Park the A’s put up a good fight but fell to the Indians 6 to 5. In truth the A’s fell to Tris Speaker who smacked out a triple, 2 singles, drew a walk and stole home with the winning run in the 7th inning. Out in St. Louis it took 10 innings for the Phillies to squeeze out a 2 to 1 win when pinch runner Possum Whitted scored from 2nd on a single by Bill Killefer.
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