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, FEBRUARY 19, 1917
The forecast calls for rain or perhaps snow tonight depending on the wind direction and the temperature. The high this afternoon will reach 38° with the low tonight near 32°.
Today the 1,056 men of the 6th Infantry Regiment of the National Guard of Pennsylvania returned home. The men had been assigned to guard the border near El Paso, Texas. The train carrying the troops arrived at Broad & Washington station at 8:45am and was greeted by cheers from family and friends. Mothers, fathers, wives, children, sisters and sweethearts called out to their boys, who now must be considered men, with pride and tears of joy.
Along with Philadelphians the Regiment includes men from Norristown, West Chester, Chester, Media and other parts of Delaware County. The Regiment’s commander, Colonel Thomas Biddle Ellis, spoke glowingly of his men and said if war comes the 6th would be ready. The men then lined up for parade and marched north to Callowhill . Once there they countermarched to Market Street where they were review at the State Fencibles headquarters. All along the route thousands lined the street cheering the men and thanking them for a job well done.
Housewives here have seen a sharp rise in prices over the last few months making even a plain dinner much more expensive. Potatoes are now .22¢ for a ¼ peck, onions are at .15¢ per lbs., lettuce is .15¢ per head, tomatoes are .35¢ a quart and turnips are .20¢ ¼ peck. The main cause of the price increases has been bad weather.
On the sports beat, in Eastern League Basketball two of the three teams tied for 3rd meet tonight when the Reading Bears travel to Trenton. Kensington’s Jasper Jewels and the Greystock Greys of South Philadelphia are tied for first place. In the intercollegiate league, Penn’s 27-23 loss to Yale Saturday night ended their hopes of clinching the title.
Today fighting is taking place all along the western front from the North Sea to the Swiss frontier. The fiercest engagements are taking place in the northern part of the Somme front where British troops are attacking around the Ancre River. Also from Germany comes the news that Field Marshal von Hindenburg intends to mobilize 1 million German women to join the workforce freeing up their men to fight. Every able bodied German man will be drafted into the army. German industry and agriculture must be kept going because it is clear the German people are beginning to go hungry from the effects of the war. They are not starving yet but the situation is worsening.
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