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. So, check back often for new editions. To share your family or neighborhood stories, please email PhillyWWIyears@gmail.com


A sou’wester brought snow, sleet and heavy rain to the city today. The precipitation is causing the threat of the Schuylkill River overflowing its banks. That river is already clogged with ice from the snow which fell last week and the continued cold temperatures. Now officials fear the large chunks of ice may burst the Fairmount Dam. The plan to break up the ice by using dynamite has been delayed for now. Chief Davis of the Bureau of Water said today the force of the blast may actually cause the Dam to fail. The Fairmount Dam is built mostly of wood. Hopefully today’s warmer temperature will melt some of the ice. Dynamite was used today on the Delaware River to break up ice opposite Hog Island this morning to allow ferry boats to get men to work at the shipyard. Today’s high will reach 42° with the low near 26°.

Today is Army-Navy day at the Automobile Show. Enlisted men, yeomen, noncoms and officers from League Island and the various arsenals of this city are the invited guests of the exhibitors. The 17th Annual Philadelphia Automobile Show opened on Saturday at the Wanamaker Garage, 23rd & Walnut Streets. There are over 230 different models of cars on display along with a myriad of accessories and equipment.

Also in this city today Mr. Samuel Gompers, president of the American Federation of Labor addressed the convention of the Bricklayers, Masons and Plasterers’ International Union at the Parkway Building. Mr. Gompers pledged the unswerving loyalty of labor to the American Government in the present crisis. He also predicted the adoption of a universal 8 hour workday for the American workingman. He argued this would increase efficiency in war work as has already been proved in England.


German artillery bombed the English city of Yarmouth on the North Sea coast. Three persons are known dead with at least 10 injured. The bombardment came from either a German cruiser or one of their new large submarines. On the western front, British troops struck at German lines around Lens in northern France for the second consecutive night. The British destroyed German military works, bombed dugouts and took many prisoners. And there are reports that the Austrians are moving large numbers of troops from the east to the Italian front in light of the armistice talks.