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 OCTOBER 16, 1918
The Weather Bureau has forecast clear and bright skies today with the high reaching 76° and the low tonight near 51°.
In the past 24 hours 711 deaths and 2,290 new cases of influenza have been reported to the Health Department. Notwithstanding those numbers the health authorities of this city firmly believe that the influenza epidemic has reached the breaking point and is now on the decline. Dr. Wilmer Krusen, Director of the Department of Health and Charities, announced today “The epidemic in on the wane; the situation is encouraging”. One reason for his optimism was that the police stations, which also serve as emergency clinics, have seen a steady decrease in telephone calls seeking assistance and in the sick arriving for treatment.
Dr. Krusen has also taken over the supervision of the Street Cleaning Bureau. He declared that the failure of the Bureau to adequately clean the streets and alleys of South Philadelphia has contributed to the spread of the disease. The current head of the Bureau, Chief Hicks, has only offered excuses for why the work has not been done. Chief Hicks has explained his failures were because he is too old for the job. The Chief is approaching 60 years of age. He also stated that the people of South Philadelphia are the ones responsible for the dirty streets and alleys and they should make some effort to clean them themselves.
Because the epidemic seems to have slightly abated in South Philadelphia, 23 doctors serving there have been transferred to the Kensington section where the flu appears to have increased. The news was also encouraging from the Naval Department at League Island where only 15 new cases and 3 deaths had occurred in the last 24 hours.
The Frederick Douglas Hospital for Negroes, 16th & Lombard Streets, has opened an annex to relieve overcrowding. The annex is located at St. Peter Claver’s School, 12th & Lombard. Finally, children who have been made orphans due to the death of one or both parents are now being housed at the Second Presbyterian Church, 21st & Walnut Streets, and St. James Protestant Episcopal Church at 2210 Sansom Street.
On the western front, in Flanders the British have taken the town of Menin and are closing in on Courtrai, an important railway center. Across a wide front in Belgium the British, Belgian and French forces have forced the Germans steadily back taking over 10,000 German prisoners on their march. The Belgian King, Albert, is in the field leading the Allied forces attempting to free his country. Further south in France, American troops are attacking northwest of Verdun and widening the breach they created in the Kriemhilde line. Our boys are facing stiff German resistance including hundreds of machine gun nests hidden in the surrounding woods and unrelenting gas attacks but they continue to press on.
GET YOUR COPY BY CLICKING HERE: PHILADELPHIA: THE WORLD WAR I YEARS