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 JULY 25, 1917
The weather for today calls for generally cloudy skies with the chance of thunderstorms this evening. Today’s high will reach 85° with the low about 72°. This morning police patrols removed all candy and newspaper stands from along the Parkway. The move was necessitated so that construction could continue. The original order to move the stands was issued a few years ago but was ignored by both the vendors and police.
Explosions followed by flames shooting 1000 feet into the air occurred at 2:00am today at the Atlantic Refining Company on Passyunk Avenue near 21st Street in Point Breeze. The sound from the explosion rocked the surrounding area. The blaze was started accidentally in the still or agitator located behind the administration building and then spread to the tanks. The fire eventually reached 5 alarms. Every available fire company rushed to the scene. There were 250 employees working at the plant at the time. Three employees were seriously hurt but there were no deaths. Almost 50 firemen have suffered some injury but none were serious. As of this afternoon some fires are still burning in parts of the plant.
It was confirmed today that the work on the Hog Island shipyard will proceed according to the plans laid out by General Goethals, despite his resignation. The Pennsylvania Railroad is starting its new line to reach the Island along Bow Creek. And the Reading Railway is also beginning construction. Also the Philadelphia Electric Company has begun setting up power transmission lines to supply the Yard.
In sports, tonight at Shibe Park the most anticipated fight of the year will be held. Johnny Kilbane (shown first below), featherweight champion of the world from Cleveland Ohio, will meet the lightweight champion of the world, Benny Leonard (shown second below), in a 6 round match. Leonard won his championship title in May of this year. He is from the lower east side of Manhattan in what is considered a Jewish ghetto. Tonight’s purse of $20,000.00 is the largest ever offered for a 6 round fight.
But before that fight a baseball game was played. The A’s hosted the Tigers and took the match 8 to 3. Elmer Myers went all 9 innings and got the win. The Phillies are travelling to Cincinnati.
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