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, MAY 26, 1916
There will be clear skies over the city today with temperatures slightly cooler than yesterday. The high will reach 76° with the low near 57°. Late yesterday afternoon from out of nowhere and completely unexpectedly a sever electrical storm swept through this city and the surrounding areas. For 1 hour winds in the city gusted at a velocity of 37 miles an hour. Over an inch of rain fell in torrents. Chimneys, trees and poles were blown down. In the suburbs winds were measured at up to 75mph.
Tragically the storm claimed 3 lives. The dead are Miss Florence Smith, 18 years old of 2113 Westmoreland Street, Miss Marie Wheaton, 16 years old of 2935 Judson Street and Mr. Lewis White, 23 of 2015 West Clearfield Street. The young people were on a picnic when the storm struck. They ran for shelter inside an old stone barn on the Peltz farm in Nicetown. Unfortunately the barn was hit by lightning causing 3 of its walls to collapse inward crushing the 3 picnickers (shown below). Twelve others throughout the city were injured in the storm from either lightning strikes or falling debris.
The South Street Bridge which spans the Schuylkill River sagged about 8 feet this afternoon forcing the diversion of trolleys and freight trains of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Where possible, the trolleys and trains were sent over the Walnut Street Bridge. It is not known if the sagging was the result of yesterday’s storm.
Forty-one acres of land near Rhawn Street and Bustleton Avenue, about ½ mile from Northeast Boulevard, has been sold by Benjamin Wilson to Edwin Levin for about $750.00 per acre. The grounds extend from Loney Street to Rhawn Street, from Rhawn to Hoffnagle and from the Bustleton and Somerton Railroad to Bustleton Avenue.
A troop of blind Boy Scouts are heading out for a weekend stay in Whitemarsh Valley. The boys will camp on the estate of Alexander Van Rensselaer at Fort Hill which is 5 miles north of Chestnut hill. The boys will enjoy hiking, races, learning to tie knots and start campfires to cook their meals. And on their hikes they will be accompanied by a 9 piece drum and bugle corps.
In baseball yesterday, the A’s game here against Cleveland was called in the 4th inning because of the terrible storm. This afternoon the Athletics are in Washington to meet the Senators. The Phillies had yesterday off for their trip home. They will host the Brooklyn Robins for 4 games starting this afternoon at National League Park. Grover Cleveland Alexander will take the mound for Manager Moran. A Phillies victory today will put them in 1st place. In track, the inter-academic track and field championship will be held today at Franklin Field. Penn Charter, Episcopal Academy, Germantown Academy and Friends Central will vie for the honors. The meet starts at 2:00pm.
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