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


The skies over the city today will be clear, bright and sunny. The high will reach about 63° and the overnight low near 39°. Today is a day of sad anniversaries. It was 4 years ago today that the Titanic, the largest steamship afloat at the time, sank in the mid-Atlantic after striking an iceberg. One thousand six hundred and fifty lives were lost with the ship. Today is also the 51st anniversary of the death of President Lincoln.

A dinner will be given tonight at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel by 50 leading business leaders and professional men. The purpose of the gathering will be to organize efforts for the construction of a motor speedway for Philadelphia. Motor racing and aviation celebrities will also be attending including Indianapolis 500 winner Ralph De Palma, Dario Resta and Ralph Mulford and William Hawley president of the Aero Club of America.

Dr. Joseph Shimoon (shown below), a former resident of this city and a graduate of Jefferson Medical College, class of 1902, has been executed by the Turks in Persia. Dr. Shimoon was in Persia as a medical missionary and was seized by the Turks at Urmi. He was told he could keep his life and have a position as a surgeon in the Turkish army if he denied his Christian faith and accepted Islam. The doctor refused at which time he was tied to a stake and oil poured over him. His captors gave him one more chance saying “Acknowledge Mohammed to be your prophet.” The doctor replied “Jesus is my savior.” He was then set on fire. After he was dead his head was cut off. Dr. Shimoon was Persian by birth and came to this country to further his education. While here he resided at 745 South 15th Street. He is remembered fondly by his classmates from Jefferson College. It is not clear whether he ever became a naturalized American citizen.

4-15-1916 Dr. Shimoon

On the entertainment scene tonight, at the Nixon Grand, Broad & Montgomery Avenue, vaudeville’s greatest circus Gruber’s Animals featuring Minnie the 3 ton elephant will be appearing all week. At the Lyric, Broad and Cherry Streets, the spectacular 3 act operetta Alone At Last will be on stage. On screen at the Victoria, 9th & Market Streets, Charlie Chaplin stars in Carmen.  At the Leader, 41st & Lancaster Avenue, Mary Pickford stars in The Foundling. And for those desiring a more cerebral evening event an illustrated lecture will be presented tonight at the Curtis Building, 6th & Chestnut, by Major Charles Cahill entitled “The Shoe in Mythology, Romance, Peace and War” beginning at 8:15pm.