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, DECEMBER 11, 1917
There will be clear and bright skies over the city today but the brutally cold temperatures remain. Today’s high will only reach 25° with the low tonight near 14°. Skating is permitted today in Fairmount Park on Gustine Lake and Concourse Lake. Skating is also allowed on the lake in Hunting Park.
In local news, the Board of Education will meet today to discuss ending the teaching of the German language in the public schools. A number of Board members believe the idea to be “ridiculous”. One even asked if the schools should have stopped teaching English during the War of 1812. And the Director of Public Safety, William Wilson, has announced that he will recommend to city councils that the pay of policemen be raised to $4.00 per day. This is seen as a small victory for police who have threatened to strike on December 31 if certain demands were not met, including a salary increase. Also today the age limit for men wishing to join the police force or the fire department was raised to 40 years. The change was made to offset the loss of men to the military.
In national news, at Camp Travis, Texas on Salado Creek today 13 negro soldiers of the 24th Infantry Regiment were hanged for their participation in the Houston riot on the night of August 23. During that riot 17 people were killed and 22 injured. The executions took place at 7:17am, one minute before sunrise. Forty-one other negro soldiers were given life sentences in Federal prison. Five soldiers were acquitted.
In Jerusalem today, General Allenby entered the city through the Jaffa Gate.
The commander entered on foot instead of on horseback or in a vehicle as a show of respect for this Holy place. The British flag was then raised over the city. British guards were immediately placed at the Holy Sepulcher and other Christian sites to protect them from desecration by Muslims enraged by the loss of the city. In Britain the capture of the city has given renewed impetus to a plan currently being debated by the British government of establishing a homeland in Palestine for the Jews.
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