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 – MONDAY, MARCH 19, 1917
Philadelphia will have fair, clear skies today but colder temperatures. The high will be about 38° with the low around 24°. The First Regiment Armory, Broad & Callowhill Streets, will be turned from a military installation into a garden this week. The occasion is a rose festival organized by the American Rose Society. Of course roses will be featured but scores of other varieties of plants and flowers will also be exhibited.
Police have placed a strict quarantine on two Republican political clubs in West Philadelphia. The 44th Ward Club at 46th & Lancaster Avenue and the 34th Ward Club in the same neighborhood will be watched by police who will only allow card carrying members to enter. Reports to the police from Bishop John McCort of Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church caused the quarantine. Bishop McCort reported that there was gambling in the clubs and non-members where taking part. The Bishop said he was told by young men in the neighborhood that they had lost all their wages at the clubs.
On the national scene, three American steamships have been sunk by German submarines with the loss of at least 20 American lives. The ships were the “Vigilancia”, the “City of Memphis” and the “Illinois”. In no instance did the Germans offer any assistance to the survivors. Many in Washington, D.C. are saying today that this outrage must now be seen by the President and Congress as the “overt act” spoken of by Mr. Wilson in his speech last month that would drive the United States to war. Many in the Capitol believe the President will call Congress into special session immediately.
In international news, the Jews of Russia are rejoicing today as the Duma has granted them the full rights of citizenship and has abolished the Pale. The Pale included those areas in western Russia where Jews were allowed to live but beyond which permanent residency was generally prohibited.
On the sports beat, Cricket practice begins this week at many of the area high schools. Northeast High will begin its practice today at 29th & Cambria Streets. Penn Charter, last year’s champs, Central High, Germantown High, Germantown Academy, Haverford School and Haverford College Prep round out the league this year.
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