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 increasing cloudiness over the city today with probable rain this evening. The high will reach 54° with the low near 32°. Over 1400 men have gone on strike at Cramps Shipyard according to the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers. Many of the men attended a meeting today at St. Ann’s Hall, Miller Street & Lehigh Avenue where the Union leaders outlined their demands. The men are calling for a 25% pay increase and better safety and sanitary conditions. The strike has stopped the construction of 6 ships including the U.S. Torpedo boat destroyer Wilkes.

John Mastalir (shown below) of 150 North 7th Street came to this country as a boy from Austria. The day he attained his majority he took out citizenship papers to become an American. Mr. Mastalir is the light weight champion weightlifter of America and has lifted 1,650 pounds on his back. He has recently made a living performing in vaudeville. But now he has become a soldier. Mr. Mastalir believes he has a duty to his adopted country to serve with the army in Mexico so he has given up athletic and vaudeville fame for $15.00 a month as a soldier and the chance to capture Villa.

John Mastalir

John Mastalir

Also concerning the Mexican situation, President Wilson met with Secretary of War Baker today to discuss the sending of more troops south of the border. Secretary Baker believes that it is imperative that General Pershing be reinforced at once. Reports from Mexico are that Villa has gathered 2000 men at Parral in Chihuahua State for a stand against the American troops.

In sports, tonight at Cooper Battalion Hall, 23rd & Christian Streets, the first game of what is being described as the world series of basketball will be player. The pride of Grays Ferry the Greystock Grays, Champions of the Eastern Basketball League will meet the Paterson Cresecents of Paterson, New Jersey, Champions of the Interstate League. The game begins at 8:30pm sharp.

In boxing there is a full card tonight at the Lincoln A.C., 49th & Woodland Avenue, the featured bout will be Sammy Decker vs. Eddie Seigel. The warm ups include Jack Fitzgerald vs. Lew Fink, Johnny Loughrey vs. Roy Hurst, Joe Jackson vs. Johnny Kerkler and Young Artie vs. Jimmy Darling. And at the Quaker City A.A., 26th & Dauphin, Al Haines meets Jack Scull, Tommy Sharp vs. Henry Hinckle, Hughie Cassidy vs. Willie Quinn, Andy Corbett vs. Johnny Newton and Johnny Miller takes on Willie Shaffer of New York in the wind-up.


On the western front, the Germans are making further gains west of the Meuse River. The Teutons are aiming their attacks on Bethincourt about 51/2 miles northwest of Verdun. In the Alps, Italian heavy artillery is shelling Gorizia on the Isonzo front.