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 – SATURDAY JULY 28, 1917
There will be clear bright skies over the city today but unfortunately the oppressive heat will continue. The temperature will not reach yesterday’s high of 91° but it will be near 86°. Tonight’s low will be 69°. The heat has caused a great exodus of city dwellers to the sea shore. Over 60,000 passengers have been transported to Atlantic City and other resort towns by both the Pennsylvania and the Reading Railroads.
The Philadelphia police will be getting extra riot sticks for use in case of emergency. Superintendent Robinson ordered the sticks today. The recent riot in Chester spurred the order. And the Philadelphia Fire Department is suffering a serious manpower shortage. So far 22 firemen, including a battalion chief and two lieutenants, have enlisted in the military.
In Chester, the funeral of William McKinney, the white man murdered by negroes, was held today. The ceremony began at the victim’s home where family and friends gathered. Then Mr. McKinney’s body was taken to the Immaculate Heart Church where a Catholic Mass was held before his burial in the church’s cemetery. State and local police were visible throughout the ceremony to ensure there would be no violence. Chester was quiet today but outbreaks of mob violence did occurred last night. Hundreds of negroes have left the city over the past few days. But others intend to stay and fight if necessary. There are even rumors that negro gangs from Philadelphia are heading for Chester to reinforce the blacks and shoot up whites tonight. The Mayor, Sheriff and Police Chief have assured the residents that any trouble will be dealt with quickly.
Last night at Mosebach’s restaurant a grand banquet was given for John “Jack” Kelly (shown below), champion rower and member of the Vesper Club. Over 250 men were in attendance including the members of every boat club of this city and athletes from other sports. The occasion was to wish Mr. Kelly Bon Voyage as he heads for France as a member of his new club, the United States Army. Mr. Kelly recently enlisted and is now referred to as Private Kelly.
On the western front, German artillery bombardments are continuing for the third straight day north of Ypres around Armentieres. The British believe this is a prelude to a major German offensive. On the eastern front, the Russian retreat in Galicia continues. The German army is claiming the capture of Czernowitz, the capital of Bukowina. Russian troops are also retreating from the Carpathian mountain passes.
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