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 – TUESDAY, DECEMBER 18, 1917
The Philadelphia Weather Bureau is predicting rising temperatures for tonight and tomorrow. It is hoped that this will lessen the need for heating coal in many homes. Today the temperature will finally make it above the freezing point to 35° while tonight’s low will only be 24°. This morning shivering women in South Philadelphia stood by the railroad dock where a full car of coal stood idle waiting for loading onto wagons (shown below). The women’s’ pleas for a few pieces to heat their homes went unheeded. While at the railroad yard at 12th & Oregon Avenue, 500 women and their children raided 2 coal cars which were sitting unattended. Police were called but when they arrived they did nothing. They allowed the women and children to take what they could and then closed off the area.
Today William Potter, State fuel administrator, and Francis Lewis, chairman of the Philadelphia County coal committee, left for Washington to meet with Harry Garfield, National Coal Administrator, to plead for an emergency shipment of coal to distribute to Philadelphia families. Also today Director Wilmer Krusen of the Department of Public Health seized 4 carloads of coal equaling 180 tons from the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad. Director Krusen said the coal will be used at city hospitals and the Home for the Indigent. When Mr. Krusen was told his seizure was illegal he replied “necessity knows no law”. He further declared “I won’t permit the city’s sick to suffer”.
On the sports scene, two games were played last night at Traymore Hall, Franklin Street & Columbia Avenue, in the American Basketball League. The Hancock Club defeated the Brotherhood Beth Israel 33 to 20 and St. Columbia slipped by the Young Men’s Hebrew Association 24 to 19. In high school basketball Frankford just outscored P.I.D. 25 to 22 but Camden High overwhelmed Gloucester High 73 to 6.
From Copenhagen comes a report that former Russian Premier Kerensky has appeared at the head of an army of several thousand troops. It was believed that Kerensky was in Finland trying to raise support to regain power. Supposedly the Bolsheviks have dispatched an army to meet this latest counter-revolutionary threat. Additionally, an anti-Bolshevik Cossack regiment has reportedly captured the city of Rostov in Ukrainia. It is reported that 26 of Russia’s provinces have formally refused to recognize the Bolshevik government including Novgorod, Bessarabia, Vladivostok and Smolensk.
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