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 JUNE 30, 1917
There will be clear and fair skies over the city today with gentle winds from the west. The high will reach 81° with the low near 63°. On the Delaware River today the largest battleship of the United States Navy was launched. New York Shipbuilding Corporation in Camden launched the U.S.S. Idaho at 9:45am. The ship was “christened” by Miss Henrietta Amelia Simons, the 14 year old grand-daughter of the Governor of Idaho, Moses Alexander, who also attended the launch. Thousands of workmen from the shipyard and hundreds of sailors from the Navy Yard were there to watch the huge ship slide down the slips. The Idaho (shown below) stretches over 620 feet. She is armed with twelve 14-inch guns in four 3 gun turrets.
Moments before the ship was christened Captain C.H. Dickens, chaplain of the Navy Yard recited the prayer used at every naval ship launching since 1843 which reads in part “May the vessels of our Navy be guarded by Thy gracious Providence and care. May they not bear the sword in vain but as the minister of God, be a terror to those who do evil and a defense to those who do well”.
In entertainment around the city this weekend there are wonderful attractions on stage and on screen. In vaudeville at the Globe, Juniper & Market Streets, the musical comedy The Suffragette Revue and Philadelphia’s favorite Hebrew comedian Joe Watson in Abbie Kabbibble. Tickets start at 10¢. At the Cross Keys, 60th & Market, the sensational “Four Mirranos” top the bill followed by the musical comedy The Night Clerk. Seats start at 10¢.
In motion pictures, at the Alhambra, 12th & Morris Streets, Ethel Barrymore stars in Her Greatest Power. At the 56th Street Theatre, 56th & Spruce, House Peters and Kathlyn Williams star in the western Highway of Hope. At the Jefferson, 29th & Dauphin Streets, Frances Nelson and Harry S. Northrup star in The Beautiful Lie. And at the Stanley, 16th & Market, Douglas Fairbanks stars in the comedy western Wild and Woolly with an additional attraction of film of General Pershing’s arrival in France.
For those seeking musical entertainment, the Municipal Band will be performing this evening at 2nd & Laurel Streets and the Philadelphia Band will be at City Hall Plaza. For those traveling to the seashore, 25 members of the Philadelphia Orchestra will be in concert at the Ocean City, N.J. music pavilion on Saturday and Sunday evenings all summer.
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