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 did not have a white Christmas. In fact it was an unseasonably warm one with the temperature reaching 60°.  For today fair skies with slightly cooler temperatures are in the forecast. The high will reach 43° with the low tonight around 21°. The “grip” is spreading in this city by leaps and bounds. More than 15,000 cases are estimated in the last few weeks and 600 people are in hospitals suffering from the malady. The grip is not a reportable disease and not always officially reported to the Bureau of Health. Therefore only estimates can be made of its spread.

The entire Delaware water front glowed last night from the light of a terrific blaze on the Race Street Pier. The fire attracted hundreds of curious onlookers making fighting the fire difficult for firemen. Prompt and courageous action by firemen saved 4 barges docked there at the time. Tug boats also assisted in the fight throwing streams of water on the blaze from the river. The fire was brought under control shortly before dawn.

Over 120 women and girls that work at the Quaker City Laundry, 48th & Chestnut Streets, did not miss Christmas dinner because they were working. The company supplied a veritable feast for the ladies (shown below). The dinner included soup and fish as the first 2 courses followed by turkey with all the fixings and mince and pumpkin pie, cakes and ice cream for dessert. The male employees were busy making deliveries and will have their special dinner in January.

Quaker City Laundry girls having X-Mas dinner

Thousands of Philadelphians flocked to the sea shore for the Christmas Holiday in even larger numbers than in previous years. Atlantic City saw the largest contingent from this city displacing the belief that it was a predominately New York destination. Because of the large influx of holiday vacationers, Atlantic City officials are preparing for next year by planning many more amusements for the enjoyment of Holiday visitors then were available this year.

Immigration at our port has taken a decided downturn this past year. In fact 786 more aliens left this city than arrived. During December only 20 immigrants arrived here whereas last year in December 372 arrived.  During 1915, 1,379 immigrants came to Philadelphia from foreign lands while in 1914 there were 32,301 aliens arriving.

From across the southern border in Mexico word has been received from General Funston that all the officers serving in the army of Pancho Villa in the state of Chihuahua have surrendered to the forces of President Carranza. General Funston informed the War Department of this development before Christmas. There was no news as to whether the Villa men would be granted amnesty. Reportedly General Villa has left Chihuahua City with about 400 men and is headed north toward the border.