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 JUNE 14, 1918
The weather forecast call for overcast cloudy skies and probable rain this afternoon. Today’s high will be about 74° with the low tonight near 58°. Today all true Americans are celebrating the birthday of our flag. The Star Spangled Banner was born by Act of the Continental Congress on this day in 1777.
Perhaps no place celebrates this day in a more reverential way than the little house at 239 Arch Street. Surrounded now by bustling businesses and industrial buildings this little house usually goes unnoticed by the passersby. But it was here that Betsy Ross first sewed the flag that now is honored by the free nations of the world. And the little house today is decorated as befitting the important part it played in our country’s history. A banner across the building reads “Birthplace of Old Glory”. New flags drape the wooden shield containing the image of President Washington. There are even electric lights of red, white and blue on the outside wall proclaiming “God, Humanity, Democracy” and a service flag with 20,147 stars representing the Philadelphia boys currently serving in the military flies outside.
Miss Phyllis Walsh of this city has been awarded the Croix de Guerre at Nancy, France. Miss Walsh is the daughter of Mrs. Florence Huhn Walsh of 6012 Drexel Road in Overbrook. Miss Walsh has been driving an ambulance and at times supply trucks back and forth for the American hospitals near the front. Miss Walsh is well known to her friends and acquaintances as an all-around athlete who excels at tennis and ice hockey and a girl of exceptional vigor. It was no surprise to them that she entered dangerous work close to the front lines. Miss Walsh is one of the first women to be awarded the decoration.
[Editor’s note: Phyllis Walsh lived a long and adventurous life. An extensive interview with her recounting her life including her service in WWI, playing competitive tennis, writing a sports column for a New York newspaper, becoming a stockbroker and after moving to Nevada in the 1930s, running a ranch for 32 years can be found here: http://www.onlinenevada.org/sites/default/files/Phyllis_J_Walsh_Complete_Document.pdf. Interestingly, in her reminiscences about WWI she does not mention receiving the Croix de Guerre.]
In entertainment this weekend the Municipal Band will be performing at Pennypack Square in Holmsburg. The Philadelphia Band will be at City Hall Plaza and the Fairmount Park Band will perform at Strawberry Mansion. All concerts are free. There are also new attractions on many of the motion picture screens around the city. At the Cedar, 60th & Cedar Avenue, Douglas Fairbanks stars in the comedy Mr. Fix-It. At the Eureka, 40th & Market Streets, William S. Hart stars in The Tiger Man a western story of lust and love. And at the Forrest Theatre, Broad & Sansom Streets, the incredible motion picture filmed with our fighting boys in France, Pershing’s Crusaders is onscreen twice daily [Editor’s Note: For those wanting to experience a little of what audiences saw in 1918, Pershing’s Crusaders can be found on Youtube.com in various lengths ranging from 37 minutes to over an hour. Unfortunately none of the versions have all the original title cards accompanying and explaining the different scenes.]
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