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 cloudy skies over the city today. There is a strong possibility of rain tonight which may turn to snow in the early morning hours. Today’s high will be about 40° and the low tonight near 30°. The construction company owned by Edwin Vare has been awarded a contract for the construction of column foundations for the Frankford elevated railway on Frankford Avenue from Unity Street to Dyre Street. The contract is worth $24,000.00.

An exhibit on feeble-mindedness opens today at the Widener Building, Juniper and Chestnut Streets, and will continue through March 5th. The exhibit is held under the auspices of the Public Charities Association and is intended to show the advantages of the institutionalization of the feeble-minded as well as to secure state appropriations. Three nights are dedicated to addressing the issues met by specific professionals. The evening of February 28 will be Physicians night.  March 1st will be for the benefit of social workers and March 2nd will be dedicated to educators and discuss how schooling can enhance the life of the feeble-minded. The Eastern Pennsylvania State Institution for the Feeble-Minded and Epileptic (shown below and later known as Pennhurst) opened in 1908 and offers housing and education for feeble-minded children. The Philadelphia County Medical Society has fully endorsed the event.

Pennhurst Dining Hall 1915

Turnips were flying in Kensington today. The turnip wagon of David Walton, a Torresdale farmer, was peacefully rolling along Berks Street toward the market when it was struck at Mascher Streets by an eastbound trolley. The impact of the crash smashed the wagon to bits and sent turnips flying in every direction. But the vegetables didn’t lie on the ground long. Kensingtonians appeared from every direction carrying bags and boxes, wearing aprons and of course many just with their pockets. In what seemed like the blink of an eye Mr. Walton had no turnips left.  Tonight in Kensington the air will be pungent with the smell of turnip soup, turnip stew, breaded turnips and turnips au gratin for supper.

In International news, the Kingdom of Denmark has renewed its former offer to the United States that America purchase the Danish West Indies. The islands consist of St. Thomas, St. John and Santa Cruz. Previously in 1903 a treaty of cession and purchase had been drawn up but the Upper House of the Danish Parliament rejected the sale under pressure from Germany.


 The German army near Verdun continues its offensive and has now captured 61/2 miles of trenches from the French and taken 3000 prisoners. The Germans are led by Crown Prince Wilhelm. Notwithstanding this advance, German losses are said to be enormous. German attacks are also ongoing in the upper Alsace region and in the Artois district.