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


There will be overcast, gray skies over the city today accompanied by a persistent light drizzle falling throughout the area. The high will be about 60° with the low this evening near 42°. Today marks the 55th year of business for Wanamaker & Brown, 6th & Market Streets, also known as Oak Hall. Mr. Wanamaker opened the store in 1861 with his brother-in-law Nathan Brown. Mr. Brown died in 1868 shortly thereafter Mr. Wanamaker opened his second store at 818 Chestnut Street. His grand department store at 13th & Market opened in 1877. Happy Anniversary Mr. Wanamaker.

4-6-1916 Wanamaker & Brown

The 10th class to graduate from South Philadelphia High School will assemble this evening in the school’s auditorium at Broad & Jackson Streets. Eighty one young men will receive diplomas. The salutatory address will be given by Ruben Bergendoff and the valedictory by G. Carle Lieb.

Walter Williamson, a Lamplighter who resides at 2012 East Glenwood Avenue, is recovering today at Episcopal Hospital after being burned from head to toe last night. As he was lighting a lamp in the rear of a restaurant at 3268 Frankford Avenue the oil blazed up and exploded a 5 gallon oil can he was carrying. Williamson’s hair and most of his clothing was burned off. He was rescued by John Casey the restaurant’s owner who doused the fire and then bathed the man in olive oil before taking him to the hospital. After being treated by the doctors Williamson’s only words were “Gee, I’m hungry”. Perhaps his appetite was the result of the odor of warm olive oil.

In spring training baseball today, the Phillies have left their sunny grounds in St. Petersburg and traveled to Richmond, Virginia today for a game against that city’s International League squad. The Phillies won 9 to 6.  The Athletics are in Wilmington, North Carolina where they beat the boys from Rocky Mount of the Virginia League 3 to 2. The Athletics’ Yanigans are in Ashville, North Carolina for a game against the local Ashville team.


In Berlin, The Imperial Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg has addressed the Reichstag. In a long anticipated speech the Chancellor stressed that Germany had no desire to go to war with the United States. He also emphatically declared that Germany would never attempt to invade America or Canada. In fact he stated that Germany will fully comply with the Monroe Doctrine. The Chancellor explained that the present submarine warfare, which has caused so many disputes with America, is necessary for Germany’s survival. Finally, he promised that when the war was over Germany and Austria-Hungry would redraw the map of Europe. He said Poland and the Baltic states would be made independent and Belgium would be reformed.