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 5, 1917
Yesterday’s storm of snow, sleet and rain brought the city to a standstill for almost 24 hours. Most of the streets were deserted of traffic and even shipping along the Delaware suffered delays. Today’s weather will bring cloudy skies and cold temperatures. The high today will only reach 32° with the low tonight about 30°.
The city License Court today denied the applications of two saloons to relocate to the new parkway. The court bowed to the wishes of the Y.M.C.A. and other religious and social organizations which had appealed to keep the parkway booze free. In another case the court ruled that the presence of ghosts in a saloon at Germantown Avenue and Thompson Streets did not warrant the granting of a license to transfer the pub to the northeast corner of Orianna and Bristol Streets. The court held there was no evidence that the business had suffered any financial difficulty because of the apparitions or that the ghosts had caused customers any harm.
In Washington, D.C. today Woodrow Wilson took the oath of office as the nation’s chief executive on the east front of the Capitol plaza. The weather was a bit cold and damp but the thousands that gathered cheered the President with unabashed patriotic fervor. The war spirit was evident but so also was the hope that somehow Mr. Wilson could avoid conflict if possible and in accord with the nation’s honor.
The President stated that America would stand firm in its position of armed neutrality but also warned we might be drawn by circumstances beyond our own purpose and desire to a more active assertion of our rights. Mr. Wilson stated “We desire neither conquest nor advantage. We wish nothing that can be had only at the cost of another people.” The President continued that it is imperative that we stand together and united amid the fires that blaze throughout the world.
After the Capitol ceremony the President and Mrs. Wilson were conveyed in a carriage drawn by 4 horses. Following them were carriages carrying Vice-President Marshall and his wife and then another with members of the inaugural committee. The route was crowded with supportive and enthusiastic crowds. The inaugural parade along Pennsylvania Avenue included over 5000 Pennsylvanians of which 2500 were National Guard troops recently returned from border duty.
The National Guards of other states were also represented along with civilian delegations from every part of the country. Thousands of marchers paid tribute to the President and Vice-President including organizations of foreign born residents carrying signs proclaiming “We stand for America”. And for the first time in an inaugural parade women joined the march, almost 1500 of them. And they were not segregated or relegated to the end of the procession but were placed impartially within the civic division. The women represented trade unions, patriotic societies and political organizations.
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