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 3, 1918
There will be fair bright skies over the city today with the high reaching 74° and the low about 58°.
Today Philadelphia is in the grip of a deadly epidemic. By order of Doctor Wilmer Krusen, Director of the Philadelphia Department of Health, all theatres, motion picture houses, schools, churches, dance halls and other places of public gathering must close immediately. The order was issued this afternoon after consultation with medical authorities and the leading physicians of this city. It is hoped that the closures will stop the spread of the Influenza. The Municipal Court as well as the domestic relations and misdemeanants courts are closing for at least one week.
It is not clear whether the order applies to Liberty Loan events either indoor or outdoor. Notwithstanding that, the “Liberty Crusade” Pageant scheduled for October 12 has been called off. Fifty thousand marchers were expected to take part in the parade. Also the mass-meeting scheduled for October 7 at which former President Taft was to speak has been postponed.
The disease has spread to all areas of the city at an alarming rate. Eerily there were 666 new cases reported today. However, health officials believe there are many more cases going unreported. In South Philadelphia every police station is now also serving as an emergency medical clinic. A physician and nurse are on duty at each station. Director Krusen is offering $75.00 per week to any physician who will come and work in the city during the epidemic.
The city’s water supply is in danger as over 100 men of the Water Bureau are out sick. The Bureau is asking people to conserve water until replacements can be found for the workers. The Bell Telephone Company has issued an appeal that customers only use the telephone when absolutely necessary. The company asks this due to the lack of operators on duty. Presently there are 600 employees on the daily absentee list. The telephone lines must be kept clear for Government business and medical emergencies.
At Hog Island Shipyard approximately 8% of the 30,000 employees are unable to report for work. In army camps across the country over 100,000 cases have been reported with 2,148 deaths. However, officials of the Federal Public Health Service are confident the disease will be under control shortly. They believe its spread was due to the failure to impose quarantines quickly.
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