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 – FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 1917
There will be some light rain today with overcast skies through this evening. The high will reach 76° with a low of 63°. Last night well over 30,000 Philadelphians crowed into the Academy of Music to voice their opposition to “Government by murder”. The crowd was so large that thousands more who could not get inside overflowed onto Broad Street (shown below).
The speakers at the meeting included former Mayor Blankenburg who proclaimed that never before in the history of the city had such a gathering for civic betterment occurred. However, some of this city’s most important organizations were notably absent from the gathering. This was pointed out by Mayor Blankenburg when he asked “Where is the Union League, where is the Chamber of Commerce, where are all the businessmen associations? Why don’t we hear from them?”
Mr. Blankenburg saved his harshest criticism for the man who succeeded him, saying Mayor Smith was”… unknown to the people, but well known to the bosses” when he was elected. And he said “I have suffered from a nervous breakdown but I never suffered from a moral breakdown like the man in that office now”. Finally Mr. Blankenburg stated Mr. Smith played politics in the 5th Ward and it resulted in murder and for that he should be removed from office. Then a resolution was passed to demand the impeachment of the Mayor.
The speakers and crowd also heaped their contempt upon Director of Public Safety Wilson and the Vare Brothers. Wilson received the crowd’s odium for failing to attend policeman Eppley’s funeral. And hostility was directed at the Vare brothers for being behind the terrible events that occurred in the 5th Ward. Finally the assembly agreed to support the formation of a new political organization dedicated to clean government and to removing all political influence from the police department.
On a happier note, sailors and marines from the Philadelphia Navy Yard marched up Broad Street this afternoon to attend a special performance of The Wanderer at the Metropolitan Opera House. The performance was made possible by Mr. E.T. Stotesbury and the Drama League. The parade was led by the Marine Corps Band and followed by 800 Marines and 1000 sailors. The Wanderer is a biblical drama set in the time of King Solomon starring Miss Nance O’Neil. The entire company of the show volunteered to give the performance for the servicemen for free.
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