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, MAY 30, 1917
There will be partly cloudy skies over the city with possible showers tonight and tomorrow. The high will reach 77° and the low near 54°. Today is Memorial Day and it is being commemorated with an added solemnity this year. Parades and gatherings throughout the city are imbued with even more dignity and reverence than usual.
The day will be remembered by churches, veterans and social organizations, neighborhood groups and school children. Services are being conducted at every cemetery paying tribute to those who died for this country. There are also parades, speeches, concerts, sing-a-longs and flag raisings in virtually every neighborhood. Governor Brumbaugh has proclaimed that at Noon all heads be bared and flags lowered to half-mast for 5 minutes of silent prayer and reflection. In every cemetery of this city the soldiers of previous wars gather to pay their own tribute to friends who have gone before them like those Civil War veterans of the Winfield Scott Post, No. 114 marching to decorate the graves of dead comrades shown below.
The largest gathering of the day may take place this evening at 7:00pm. The event is organized by the West Philadelphia Patriotic Rally Association. It begins with a procession from 52nd Street & Baltimore Avenue to George’s Hill in Fairmount Park. The parade will include 7 divisions including every G.A.R. Post and many patriotic and fraternal organizations. Also marching will be Marines from League Island, National Guard units, business associations and religious groups. In all 50,000 people are expected to attend.
And finally as he has done for many years at 5:00am on this Decoration Day, Melville Freas, Civil War veteran and former private of the 150th Pennsylvania Volunteers went to Ivy Hill Cemetery, loaded his rife with blank cartridges and fired a salute under the statute he had carved of himself which sits atop the grave he will one day rest in.
In other events in and around the city, the 13th annual Devon Horse Show opens today. And the Point Breeze Motordrome begins its season tonight with a 50-mile motor paced bicycle race. Tickets are 25¢. Prior to the main event there will be a patriotic 10 mile motorcycle race. Also, the Ancient Order of Hibernians will be holding the Irish Games at Point Breeze Park. The day will include singers, dancers and speakers addressing Irish and American issues as well as athletic events and a motorcycle race, admission is 25¢.
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