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 predicted cold temperatures have arrived. Overnight the mercury dropped 23 degrees from yesterday’s high. The high today will only reached 31° and the low is expected to be near 23°. The weather bureau warns the temperature will continue to drop over the next few days.

Miss Francis Smith (shown below), 946 South Front Street, is a waitress at the restaurant at 1503 Ranstead Street and cannot understand the fuss being made over her reaction to an attempted robbery last night. As she worked alone a swarthy man came in and ordered a sandwich and a cup of coffee. After finishing his meal he pulled out a gun and demanded she give him the money in the cash register. Miss Smith firmly said “no”.

Miss Francis Smith

Miss Francis Smith

The man pointed the gun at her head and threatened to shoot. She told him that would not be a good idea and explained all the things that would happen to him if he did. She also asked him why he needed the money since he seemed well dressed. He replied that he couldn’t really go into detail about his situation just now. They continued chatting for awhile till a customer came in and the would be thief ran away. Police were amazed at Miss Smith’s calmness and courage. She explained there was no reason to be afraid since such things happen every day in a big city.

Part of Honolulu, Hawaii is under martial law today. The action was taken because of a riot last night in the Tenderloin section of that city by 500 colored troops. The troops rampaged through the area looting and wrecking buildings. The riot was finally ended when United States infantrymen charged the mob of troopers with fixed bayonets. The colored troops are part of the 9th United States Cavalry.

A train bearing the bodies of the 18 Americans killed Monday by Pancho Villa crossed the Rio Grande and arrived in Santa Fe early yesterday morning. The bodies were escorted by 4 American soldiers and followed by a troop train filled with Carranza troops. The bodies show signs of terrible mutilation including one that was decapitated. General John Pershing has doubled the number of patrols along the border. Also, squads of extra policemen have been dispatched to towns along the border to suppress any anti-Mexican violence that may arise.

In sports the Villanova basketball team will visit the city tonight to meet St. Rita’s parish team in South Philadelphia at St. Rita’s Hall, Broad & Federal Streets. The game begins at 9:00pm. Chestnut Hill Academy has organized a rifle club. The move comes as many public and private schools are considering adopting military studies and militia units in response to the threats facing the country. A rifle range is being installed in the basement of the academy and 25 students have enrolled thus far.