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. We will also recount the events occurring in the war on that day. So, check back each day for new editions.

To share your family or neighborhood stories, please email PhillyWWIyears@gmail.com


A dense fog over the area this morning caused great difficulty in travel and quite a few auto vehicle accidents. In New Jersey the fog caused 2 trolleys to collide on the Haddonfield-Camden line at Westmont. Four passengers were injured and almost 1500 commuters delayed on their way to work. The high will be near 75° with the low tonight 41°. In medical news, the Philadelphia Bureau of Health now fears that the typhoid epidemic is spreading in the crowded neighborhoods of South Philadelphia and unless checked will become increasingly worse.

It is called “Hell’s Half Acre” and lies in the area between 10th and 11th Street and from Locust to Walnut Streets. It is a place of rampant alcohol use, drugs, prostitution and poverty. But one woman, alongside her husband, tries every day to bring something better to the inhabitants of this area. She is Mrs. George Long (shown below) and to hundreds of men and women in that vice riddled,  sad, dirty, impoverished and dangerous part of Philadelphia she is affectionately called the “Angel of Hell’s Half Acre”.

10-18-1915 Mrs. George Long


Mrs. Long spends sometimes 18 hours a day here. She is the wife and co-worker of the man who, after a life of drink and vice, converted to Christianity and founded the “Inasmuch Mission”, 1019 Locust Street. Mrs. Long assists in the daily prayer service, works, cooks and serves meals in the rescue mission and cares for the sick and depressed. However, she will tell visitors that her greatest joy is teaching in the Sunday school of the Mission where she speaks of Jesus’ love and tries to make Him a reality to the unfortunate children of this most un-heavenly place.

On the sports beat, the Lincoln Giants of New York, a Negro baseball team defeated a major league team including 6 members of the National League champion Phillies at Olympic Field before 9,000 fans, 1 to 0. George Chalmers, who won 8 and lost 9 for the Phillies this year and also took the loss in the 4th game of the World Series, pitched for the major leaguers. He was opposed by “Cyclone” Joe Williams (shown below) who held the visitors scoreless. [EDITORS NOTE: Joe Williams was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999]

10-18-1915 Cyclone Joe Williams


From Paris comes the announcement that 2,000 French public school teachers have been killed in the war so far. Another 8,000 have been wounded or otherwise injured. Since the war began 30,000 teachers have been mobilized for service. On October 11th Bulgaria entered the war by invading Servia in conjunction with Austrian and German armies. Saturday in response, Russia and Great Britain declared war on Bulgaria. Also, Pope Benedict has sent an urgent handwritten plea to the Turkish Sultan imploring him to intercede and protect the lives of the Armenian people and to do all he can to alleviate their suffering.