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 – WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 19, 1917
Today’s weather will be practically balmy compared to the past week. The high temperature will reach 39° with the low about 32° under overcast and cloudy skies. Philadelphia’s plea for coal has been answered. Today after meeting with State fuel administrator William Potter and the chairman of the Philadelphia County coal committee Francis Lewis, National Coal Administrator, Harry Garfield ordered that 15,000 tons of coal be delivered to this city every day until further notice. Mr. Garfield stated that he believed this would relieve the city’s “coal famine” within 48 hours.
Mrs. Eva Kasselman, 2549 Nappa Street, is offering her 18 month old baby daughter, Tilly, to any couple who can provide the girl a good home. Mrs. Kasselman has 5 children and is desperately poor. Her husband, who is suffering from tuberculosis, left the family 5 weeks ago to find work but has not been heard from since. The family has gone without food and coal to heat their home for days. The rent is also overdue. Neighbors are trying to help by bringing the family what food and coal they can spare. Mrs. Kasselman believes it would be best for her daughter if she were taken to a good home.
Mayor Smith’s legal situation took a grave turn today. The December Grand Jury indicted the Mayor for contempt of court and conspiracy to violate the Shern law which prohibits the use of municipal employees in politics. The indictment arose from the Mayor’s involvement in the voter intimidation and violence during the election on September 19 in the 5th Ward which resulted in the murder of policeman George Eppley. The Mayor’s 7 co-defendants were also indicted under the Shern Law and additionally indicted for murder, manslaughter and attempting to prevent a free and fair election. The other co-defendants include police Lieutenant David Bennett, police officers Wirtschafter, Murphy, Uram, Feldman, Hayden and Isaac Deutsch who was a candidate for city council in the election.
In the west, at least 20 German aeroplanes raided London last night leaving 10 dead and up to 70 injured. Some buildings were also set on fire from the bombs. This is the first air raid on London since December 6. In the east, there is street to street fighting in Odessa between Ukrainian and Bolshevik troops. Telephone and telegraph wires into the city have been cut. Today’s fighting centered on the city’s port which is held by the Bolsheviks and being shelled by Ukrainian artillery.
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