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 – FRIDAY, AUGUST 24, 1917
There will be thundershowers over the area today continuing through the evening. Today’s high will be near 88° with the low about 70°.
The New Jersey seashore is bursting with social and charitable events as well as parties. Tomorrow in Cape May a grand daylong celebration and fund raising drive for the Red Cross will take place. The entire population will be involved in the affair which starts at Convention Hall at 10:30am where locals and the cottage set will assemble. Sandwiches, pies and cakes will be sold. While over at the golf club a men’s and women’s charitable tournament will be held. Of course there will be time set aside for bathing in the ocean, followed by a children’s dance at the Red Mill.
Further north in Atlantic City, beach parties under the stars have become all the rage. Bonfires light up the night all along the beaches to the delight of strollers on the boardwalk. The parties are mostly affairs of the younger set and include sack races and snail races, hurdle jumping and medicine ball tosses. The only prohibition is that no alcohol be served on the beach.
There is terrible news from Houston, Texas were yesterday evening negro soldiers of the 24th Infantry Regiment went on a rampage through the city. The riot was sparked by the beating of a negro soldier, Corporal Charles Baltimore, by Houston police. Cpl. Baltimore had approached two policemen to inquire about a fellow negro soldier who they had arrested earlier that day. The policemen pistol whipped Baltimore before arresting him. Eventually Cpl. Baltimore was released from jail and returned to camp. The treatment of their fellow soldier enraged the negroes and about 150 of them armed themselves with rifles and marched from the camp to the city.
Upon reaching the city the soldiers began by firing indiscriminately into buildings and homes and hunting policemen. In just two hours, 16 whites were killed including 4 policemen. A white captain of the Illinois National Guard, Joseph Mattes, attempted to talk to the mutineers and get them to throw down their arms but he was shot and killed. It is thought he was mistaken for a policeman. After realizing they had murdered an army officer some of the rioters disbursed. By then white soldiers of the Illinois National Guard had reached the city and confronted the remaining negroes who surrendered. Martial Law has been declared today in the city.
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