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 – FRIDAY JUNE 29, 1917
Today’s weather will bring overcast, cloudy skies and probable thunderstorms later this afternoon and tonight. Today’s high will reach 85° with the overnight low near 67°. The board of directors of the German Hospital, Girard & Corinthian Avenues, has announced that in the spirit of patriotism the institution will henceforth be known as Lankenau Hospital.
There was an unusual fight today, even by South Philadelphia standards, which caused an uproar in the neighborhood around Hutchinson and Waverly Streets. That’s because the fight was between a policeman and an alligator. The “gator”, known as Hector, belonged to Joe Litcher of 901 Waverly Street. Mr. Litcher met Hector while serving on the Mexican border. The two struck up a friendship and Mr. Litcher brought Hector home with him. Apparently last night Hector got bored and went outside for a walk.
This caused quite a commotion in the neighborhood. People began running and screaming at the sight of Hector taking his evening stroll. The police station at 12th & Pine was called for assistance and Policeman Lynch was sent to investigate. Officer Lynch found Hector and the fight was on. Hector only measures 4’6” long but he is fast and strong and has an impressive set of teeth. Initially Hector got the best of the battle by latching his teeth onto the policeman’s leg. But eventually with help from other policemen and some of the neighbors Hector was lassoed and pinched. He was then transferred to the Zoo where he will be given a new home. Policeman Lynch was treated at Pennsylvania Hospital. He required stitches for the wounds in his leg. His pants were beyond saving.
General Pershing’s fighting men have been given a nickname in France. They are being called “Sammies” to designate them as Uncle Sam’s boys. British troops are called “Tommies”. French troops are called “Poilus” and the Germans are called “Boches”. In other news, Greece has formally broken off diplomatic relations with Germany, Austria-Hungry and the Ottoman Empire. Such an action generally precedes a declaration of war.
From Russia comes the report of a fighting force made up entirely of women. This regiment of Slavic amazons was raised and organized by Captain Maria Bochkareva and only admits women from the age of 18 to 25. The women drill and train for 9 hours each day. They have been given the title “The Battalion of Death” (shown below). They are preparing to leave for the front lines near Minsk shortly.
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