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 – SATURDAY, MARCH 16, 1918
There will be fair and clear skies over the city today with a high 50°. Tonight’s low however will be a chilly 25°. The City of Philadelphia’s Bureau of Fire celebrated its 47th birthday yesterday. And few enjoyed it more than the seven men who have been on the job since those days in 1871. These men have been fighting fires since the time of hand-drawn hook-and-ladders. The seven, all close to 70 years old or older, are still spry and ready for duty. There was no reunion celebration yesterday so the men called each other on the telephone and exchanged best wishes.
The men are Captain John Rumney of Engine Company No.12 in Manayunk; Captain Charles Williams of Engine Company No. 42 at Front & Westmoreland Streets;; Captain Samuel Killian Sr. of Engine Company No 57 at 55th & Pine Streets; Engineer William C. Robertson of Engine Company No. 11 at 10th & South Streets; William Lanigan a driver for Engine Company No. 12; Hoseman William Graham of Engine Company No. 25 at 1916 Adams Street and Driver John Winring of Engine Company No. 41 at 61st & Thompson Streets.
In just a little over 5 weeks the 60 acre tract of land between the Girard estate and a celery farm in South Philadelphia is being transformed into one of the largest shipping and storage terminals in the world. The facility is at 25th & Oregon Avenue and when fully completed the complex will have cost $1,000,000.00. The facility will be used for the storage and shipping of war supplies overseas. One building is now complete with a second large building scheduled to be finished by April 1. In addition to four other huge warehouses, railroad tracks are being laid to connect the facility with the docks on Delaware Avenue.
Tomorrow is both Passion Sunday and St. Patrick’s Day. In previous years many celebrations would have been scheduled to remember the great Irish Saint. But this year with the war and the recent death of Archbishop Prendergast most events have been cancelled. Of course Masses will be said in the Catholic Churches of the city and particularly at St. Patrick’s Church at 20th & Rittenhouse Square. The Philadelphia branch of the Ancient Order of Hibernians will hold a celebration at its headquarters at 1606 North Broad Street the centerpiece of which will be the raising of a service flag containing 535 stars.
Today the War Department released the casualty figures of American losses in France to date. The total of all casualties is 1,722. As of today there have been 1,212 deaths. These include 136 Killed in action; 134 Killed by accident; 641 died of disease; 237 lost at sea; 11 by suicide; 13 by unknown causes; 6 by gas and 1 by execution. Seven civilians were also killed. The list also discloses that there were 475 wounded, 21 captured and 14 missing.
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