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, FEBRUARY 21, 1917
The forecast for today calls for partly cloudy skies but no rain or snow. The high will reach 38° with the low near 31°. Today is Ash Wednesday when many Christian denominations begin the observation of Lent. Lent is a season of repentance, prayer and fasting that lasts for approximately 6 weeks ending on Holy Saturday the day before Easter.
Two of the city’s medical schools have now joined the fight to keep the new parkway booze free. Hahnemann Medical College and the Medico-Chirurgical College have each filed petitions opposing the licensing of 2 saloons opening near 15th & Arch. The Y.M.C.A. and certain religious institutions have also opposed the licensing. In business news, Strawbridge & Clothier has announced that it will build an 8 story fire proof loft building at 9th & Poplar Streets. The building will be used as a warehouse.
In national news, Former President William Howard Taft has enrolled in the Connecticut National Guard and professed himself fully ready and capable for military duty if needed. Mr. Taft asserted on his application that he can swim, drive an automobile, ride a horse and drive a team of horses for wagon use. Mr. Taft is 60 years old.
On the sports beat, South Philadelphia High School has clinched the scholastic league basketball title. The boys of South Philly did so last night by beating West Philadelphia 48 to 25. The Dutch Company Trophy will reside at Broad & Jackson Streets this year. In professional baseball, Grover Cleveland Alexander will meet today with Phillies president Baker and manager Pat Moran in the hopes of ending his holdout and signing a contract. Alexander is asking for $15,000.00 for the 1917 season.
Today is the 1 year anniversary of the beginning of the German assault on Verdun. That battle is believed to be the largest siege in human history. Notwithstanding the enormous loss of life today the two sides occupy almost the identical position they held on the first day of the battle. The fighting at Verdun went on unceasingly for 10 months. It is estimated that in total there were over 700,000 killed, wounded or missing. The land around Verdun is scared with the marks of warfare, marks which will remain for years after this conflict is over.
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