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, SEPTEMBER 4, 1917
The Weather Bureau predicts clear fair skies over the city today with mild winds from the north. Today’s high will be an unseasonably cool 74° with the low near 60°. The Philadelphia County Fair is being held at Byberry this week. There are many attractions for family fun including Pawnee Bill’s Pioneer Days show, an aeroplane exhibition, horseracing, automobile racing and rides in high flying balloons. Also this week there is a carnival on the grounds of the church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel at 3rd & Ritner Streets. The carnival is being held to pay off the debt of the church. And just a few blocks away another carnival is being held at the Church of the Sacred Heart, 3rd & Reed Streets.
The Keystone State Construction Company, which is owned by state senator McNichol, will be handling the major work on the Broad Street subway line and the subway delivery loop. Four contracts are involved for the construction totaling more than $10,000,000.00. The construction firm owned by state senator Vare has decided not to accept a contract for other parts of the job due to the possibility the project will be delayed because of federal commandeering of needed materials for war production. Senator Vare believes such a delay could cost his company upwards of $500,000.00. The acceptance of the contracts by senator McNichol’s company also means a profit of $20,000.00 for Mayor Smith whose bonding company holds the insurance on McNichol’s company and will receive the premiums from the policies.
The city of Riga on the Baltic Sea has fallen to the Germans. Riga is strategically situated on the Gulf of Riga about 320 miles southwest of Petrograd, Russia. German troops, led by Prince Leopold of Bavaria, marched through the city yesterday in a victory parade (shown below). Thousands of Russian prisoners have been taken along with an untold amount of war material. The entire northern front of Russia is now in peril. Reports are that the Russian Government is preparing for a move from Petrograd to Moscow.
On the western front, German aeroplanes raided the Chatham-Sheerness area in Kent, England last night. Initial reports are 108 dead and 86 wounded. The raid was conducted by at least 6 aeroplanes. Chatham is a large naval and military area containing docks, barracks and an engineer school. Sheerness is a fortified seaport with a large naval arsenal.
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