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 city is digging out from the snow today. Six inches fell yesterday in the center city with a bit more falling in other sections. Telephone and telegraph wires are down and shipping is slowed in the Delaware. Snow flurries continued this morning but no serious accumulation is measured. Today will be cold with the high reaching 34° and the low overnight about 26°.

The residents of Philadelphia are marking the 115th anniversary of the death of George Washington today. Ceremonies are being held marking the anniversary in many fraternal and social organizations of this area and around the country.

Mrs. Frederick Thurston Mason who is well known in society circles and resides at 2118 Walnut Street has adopted “Old Joe” the fire horse. For 16 years Joe pulled Engine No. 32, located at 6th & Locust Streets. Joe’s age and a new electric apparatus for Engine 32 cost him his job. Since being retired he has been given menial work such as pulling garbage wagons. Joe’s former partner pulling Engine 32, George, died recently from what many believe was a broken heart after being separated from Joe. When Mrs. Mason heard of Joe’s sorry plight she traced the horse’s whereabouts and bought him (Joe and Mrs. Mason are shown below). Now Joe will spend the remainder of his days on a lovely farm near Bustleton nibbling fresh grass.

12-14-1915 Old Joe

Students of Bryn Mawr College have banded together to become teachers for the 50 Negro women employed as maids and cooks at the institution.  The students will provide instruction in reading, writing, spelling and arithmetic during the week and Bible study on Sundays.

Mrs. Katherine Murrigan, 214 West Sergeant Street, thanked Magistrate Scott today for sending her and her 3 month old child to the House of Corrections. She explained to the judge it would be warm there and they won’t have to worry about food. Mrs. Murrigan was found unconscious in the snow last night by police clutching her baby tightly, wrapped only in a shawl. She admitted she had turned to drink to ease the pains of life. Her husband has left her and is thought to be in Trenton. Seven of her 16 children have died. Those still living are being cared for by others and alcohol has become her only solace in life.

In sports, last night in boxing at the Olympia A.A., Broad & Bainbridge Streets, Philadelphia’s own Jimmy Murphy took a unanimous decision over the lightweight champion of the world Fred Welsh in their 6 round exhibition match. In baseball, National League Champion Manager Pat Moran has come to terms with Phillies owner William Baker for a new contract for the 1916 season. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed but it is believed in baseball circles that Moran procured a substantial raise.