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 clear and fair skies over the city today with nary a cloud. The high will be around 43° with the low near 30°.

City Councils today approved a special election to be held on February 8, 1916 in which Philadelphians will vote on an ordinance to borrow $90,000,000.00 for the extension and construction of the proposed Broad Street Subway and Frankford Elevated Line. The money will fund the building of the Broad Street Line from League Island to Olney Avenue where it will meet with a spur of the Frankford “L”. From there the “L” will travel in northeasterly and northwesterly directions.

The 7th floor of City Hall was buzzing with activity this morning. Loud voices and boisterous laughter could be heard all through the corridors and even on lower floors. Some speculated that it was a party of city employees who learned they would be keeping their jobs under the new administration. But it fact it was a gathering of 79 undertakers there to take the required state examination to procure their licenses. There was no gloom or talk of graves and corpses among this jolly crowd. Even those wearing the customary tall black hats were cheery and smiling throughout the exam.

In international affairs, the German Empire has bowed to America’s demand that Captain Franz von Papen, the German military attaché at the German Embassy and Captain Karl Boy-Ed, Germany’s naval attaché, be removed from their posts in this country and leave the United States. Both men have been implicated in plots to hinder and even sabotage American factories producing war material for Britain, France and Russia.

In national news, a bill was introduced in Congress today which would make the Frankford Arsenal this country’s largest government arsenal. An appropriation of $300,000.00 is requested for next year and includes the purchase of an additional 26 acres of nearby land and the building of new shops and buildings.

On the sports scene, Soccer is becoming very popular in this area. Last Saturday over 50 games were played according to the Referees’ Association of Philadelphia. Of course that number does not include games played without an official referee involved. The Referees’ Association presently officiates at games of the American, United States, Cricket Club, Allied and Pennsylvania Collegiate Leagues. And just announced today a new Industrial League will commence play composed of teams from 8 manufacturing companies.


The British government has ordered the withdrawal of all British forces from Anzac Cove and Suvla effectively ending the Gallipoli campaign. The campaign has gone on for months in a fruitless attempt to break the Turkish resistance and capture the peninsula. In the Balkans, the Bulgarians have driven the Anglo-French forces in southern Serbia close to the Greek border. The Franco-British expeditionary army had been sent to Serbia to assist the Serbs and Montenegrins after Austro-German and Bulgar armies invaded both countries.