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
THIS WEEK IN PHILADELPHIA 100 YEARS AGO
December 10 -16, 1916
Temperatures in the city would only hover in the high 20s and a heavy snow would fall mid-week continuing through Saturday and giving the city a lovely white covering. But the half foot of snow did not dissuade Christmas shoppers. Center city stores were reporting better than expected sales leading many to almost double their workforces. And record breaking passenger traffic was seen on the trolley, railroads and steamboat lines bringing shoppers into and out of the city. In other business news, the Commonwealth’s Attorney General released an opinion that under state law, women cannot be forced to work more than 54 hours in any 7 consecutive days.
For those wishing to share their home with a child over the Christmas holidays, the many institutions of the city that cared for orphans and destitute children would be willing to help. These charitable institutions would arrange for couples of good moral character and reputation to take a child in for the holidays and share the spirit of love and giving with a poor or homeless youngster.
In scholastic news, the ladies of the Byrn Mawr College volunteer fire brigade all resigned. The girls disliked the idea of rushing to fight a fire on a cold winter nights. Henceforth firefighting was the responsibility of the janitor. The young women did however promise to attend those fires that they could and provide instructions to the janitor if necessary.
In sports, at the National League winter baseball meetings in New York City, seven of the other team owners plotted to force the Phillies to raise the admission prices. The other owners complained that the low bleacher prices affected their teams’ cut of the gate when visiting the Phillies Park. At the American League team meetings in Chicago, owners considered reductions in players’ salaries in an effort to stop extravagant spending. In local sports, Northeast High took the interscholastic soccer championship. And Penn’s football team was preparing to leave for Pasadena, California where on New Year’s Day they would meet Oregon in the Tournament East-West Football Game (today known as the Rose Bowl).
In entertainment news, D.W. Griffith’s spectacular film “Intolerance” was on screen at the Chestnut Street Opera House. And there was a special announcement of a Christmas gift for the residents of the northern section of the city. The Tioga neighborhood would be getting a new motion picture theatre when The Strand would open on Christmas day at Germantown and Venango. The theatre cost $200,000.00 to build and seated over 1,800 customers.
Finally, for those ladies, who because of the hustle and bustle of the season, lacked the time to bake the traditional fruit cake, TastyKake offered its own fruit cake for just.25¢.
PHILADELPHIA: THE WORLD WAR I YEARS MAKES A GREAT CHRISTMAS GIFT FOR THE HISTORY LOVER IN YOUR LIFE. GET YOUR COPY BY CLICKING ON THE LINK BELOW.