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 – THURSDAY, OCTOBER 11, 1917
There will be periods of rain throughout the day under cloudy skies. The high will reach 58° with a low tonight of 45°.
Today Judge Charles Brown, after hearing days of testimony and 112 witnesses held Mayor Thomas Smith over on charges of conspiracy to commit murder and the violation of a half dozen other laws. The Mayor is held on $10,000.00 bail and the matter is to be submitted to the next term of the Grand Jury. The other eight defendants were also held over. Judge Brown called the Mayor the “prime malefactor” in the murder of policeman Eppley and the other violence in the “Bloody 5th”. The Judge also opined that the Mayor was a disgrace to this city. The Mayor was also held on the charge of misbehavior in office, a constitutional offense that could lead to impeachment and removal for office. The Mayor’s own bail company posted his bail this afternoon. Bail for the other defendants was put up by the Vare brothers and their supporters.
There is, thankfully, more pleasant news for Philadelphia. Sousa is here! John Philip Sousa arrived in this city this morning at Reading Terminal. With him were the 275 members of the Great Lakes Training Station Band. Once the band had left the train they took out their instruments and began marching to City Hall and around the streets of the center city business district. This group, the largest brass band in the world, enthralled the assembled crowds with the songs of its venerable conductor. Thousands lined the streets while others watched from the open windows of the tall buildings clapping and cheering for the musicians. The light rain did nothing to inhibit the crowds.
The loudest cheer arose when the band played “The Stars and Stripes Forever” in front of the Liberty Loan office. The crowd swayed, clapped and danced to Lieutenant Sousa’s most famous composition. And yes, it is Lieutenant Sousa (shown below). Shortly after the United States entered the war Mr. Sousa presented himself for duty and was commissioned a Lieutenant in the United States Naval Reserve. He declared that even at the age of 62 he was still vigorous and spry enough to do his duty and serve his country in whatever way he could.
After finishing at the Liberty Loan office the band marched to the Academy of Music where it will give two concerts today. The first will be at 3:00pm and the second at 8:00pm. All proceeds from the concerts will go to a recreation fund for the enlisted men of the Navy Yard.
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