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. We will also recount the events occurring in the war on that day. So, check back each day for new editions.
To share your family or neighborhood stories, please email PhillyWWIyears@gmail.com
TODAY IN PHILADELPHIA – FRIDAY, MARCH 17, 1916
The forecast calls for clear and fair skies over Philadelphia this St. Patrick’s Day but the temperature will remain very cold. Today’s high will only reach 28° with the low around 20°. Notwithstanding the fact that some areas still have snow and ice on the ground there was a welcome sign this morning in the sky over West Philadelphia where thousands of geese flying in a “V” formation honked their way across the area as they traveled from the warm southern climes bringing with them the hope of spring.
Today Philadelphians of all races, sects and condition are wearing shamrocks and green in honor of Ireland’s St. Patrick. Every Irish club, fraternity, society and organization of any kind is celebrating the great Saint today. For most Catholics the day began by attending church. At St. Patrick’s Church, 20th and Rittenhouse Streets, Archbishop Prendergast presided at a Pontifical Mass. This evening every local branch of the Ancient Order of Hibernians will hold banquets and dances. Germantown’s A.O.H. will hold its ball in the Town Hall. Over 1000 guests are expected to attend. The highlight of the occasion will be speeches from prominent Irish members of Parliament. The Tipperary Association will hold its annual ball tonight at Musical Fund Hall, 8th & Locust Streets.
Notwithstanding the many celebrations and banquets, the Catholic archdiocese here has not issued an exemption from its rule against the eating of meat on Friday in Lent. However, a specific exemption has been given for those attending the banquet of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel tonight. That group received a special 5 year dispensation from Pope Pius X in 1912 which will end this year. The Catholics of New York City however, have been given a general dispensation and meat is allowed today, even for the non-Irish.
Down in Washington, D.C. even President Wilson was seen celebrating the day with a green necktie and a real shamrock in his lapel. The shamrock was sent to the President from Ireland by Mr. John Redmond who heads the Irish Parliamentary Party in the British House of Commons.
On the sports beat, The pride of Gray’s Ferry, the Greystock Greys (shown below), are the Eastern Basketball League’s champions of 1916. The League closed out its season last night. The Greys finished 3 games ahead of the 2nd place Reading Bears. The Camden Alphas finished 3rd, DeNeri of South Philadelphia took 4th, Kensington’s Jasper Jewels are 5th and Trenton’s Tigers finished last.
GET YOUR COPY OF PHILADELPHIA: THE WORLD WAR I YEARS BY CLICKING ON THE LINK BELOW.