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, FEBRUARY 20, 1917
Today’s forecast calls for cloudy skies and falling temperatures. The high this afternoon will reach near 38° with the low tonight about 31°. According to a representative of the school, attention to frivolous matters and not to their studies is responsible for the flunking of 60 freshmen and 15 upper class-men in mid-year examinations at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania today. A number of standout athletes are included in the group.
Charles Albert “Chief” Bender is fondly known in this city as a great pitcher for both the A’s and the Phillies but yesterday he stood in court as a criminal defendant. The Chief is charged with operating a motorcar which ran down and killed John Curran, 31 years old of 1501 Fairmount Avenue. The incident occurred Saturday night at Broad & Poplar Streets. A policeman testified he saw the incident and recognized Bender.
The patrolman took Mr. Curran to the hospital and returned to the scene but the Chief was gone. Bender told the magistrate a different story. He said that the victim seemed drunk and stumbled out in front of his automobile and that although he was not traveling very fast he was unable to stop in time and hit the man. He also said he did not run away but gave a policeman his name and address and was told he could leave. When he heard the next morning that Mr. Curran had died he called the Superintendent of Police who advised him to come to City Hall. Bond was set at $1,500.00.
On the national scene, Major General Frederick Funston, commander of the army on the southern frontier, has died. The General collapsed and died in San Antonio, Texas after having dinner with his friend, Roy Miller, the Mayor of Corpus Christi. The General’s passing is being mourned by the troops as he was regarded with respect and admiration for his leadership. His body will be returned to his home in San Francisco for burial. It is believed that General John J. Pershing will be promoted as General Funston’s successor.
In Washington, D.C. the President has requested sweeping powers from Congress to deal with the present crisis and to protect American interests. A bill working its way through the Senate provides the President with full authority to employ the land and naval forces of the nation to “enforce compliance with and prevent violation of the obligations of the United States under the laws of nations.”
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