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 – TUESDAY, MARCH 20, 1917
There will be partly cloudy skies over the city today with warmer temperatures. The high will reach 57° with the low about 29°. One of this city’s most eligible bachelors has wed. This afternoon George Dunstan Widener married Mrs. Jessie Sloane Dodge in New York City. Mrs. Dodge was recently divorced from Mr. Earl Dodge. Mr. Widener is the son of George D. Widener and Eleanor Elkins Widener who both perished on the “RMS Titanic”.
Today Mayor Smith made an urgent plea to all able bodied patriotic citizens to give what aid they can in the protection of this city. Mr. Smith said that the United States is now virtually at war and a home defense force must be organized. The Mayor made the remarks at a meeting of business, city and military representatives at City Hall. The force will be used to guard bridges, railroad stations, munitions plants, power and telegraph lines and the wharves and docks.
At the Navy Yard last night an escape attempt was made by 14 of the interned German sailors. The escape is believed to have been aided by sympathizers from the German community here. As of this evening all but two of the Germans had been recaptured. Marines captured most of the sailors while searching the marshlands and small farms around the Navy Yard.
It is believed the escape was attempted because of the impending move of the sailors to forts in Georgia scheduled for tomorrow. It appears the Germans jumped into the back channel from their ship and swam northwest to the marsh land. Discarded wet uniforms were recovered at the riverbank. Each of the captured sailors had $250.00 in new bills on them. Also one German was found with a list of 100 names and addresses of Germans and German sympathizers in our area and New York City.
Still unknown is the whereabouts of Captain Max Thierichens, overall commander of the interned crews. Thierichens left the Navy Yard yesterday afternoon in a private automobile to go to the United States Naval Hospital but never arrived there. The Philadelphia police are assisting Federal agents in searching for the two missing sailors and Captain Thierichens. Tonight security has been enhanced at the Yard and all German sailors are confined to their ships.
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