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


There will be fair skies over the city today but the cold has returned. Today’s high will only reach 25° with the low tonight near 13°. Today begins the first of 10 “heatless” Mondays ordered by National Fuel Administrator, Harry Garfield. The order was announced on January 17 in an effort to conserve coal, oil and gasoline throughout the nation. The railroads have been prioritized for coal shipments and 32,000 tons have reached this city in the last 24 hours. Other cities have reported similar amounts.

The order also directed that all factories east of the Mississippi be closed until tomorrow. The closings include war production industries. The heatless holiday has caused thousands of workers to be idle. Only those businesses with an exemption are open today. Theatres and motion picture houses have been granted exemptions so that workers have somewhere to go. However, saloons are closed. Public schools are open. Other businesses allowed to open are hospitals and doctors’ offices, food and drug stores, banks, hotels, restaurants and blacksmith shops. Federal, state and local government offices are also open.

Those of us in this city know the 5th Ward by its unsavory reputation. But the men of the “Bloody 5th” have never been considered unpatriotic. And now the Germans and perhaps even Kaiser Bill himself will get a taste of the fighting spirit of the men of the 5th Ward. Many of the fellows from that neighborhood are in training at Camp Meade with the 315th Regiment which has been nicknamed “Philadelphia’s Own”.


In Russia, the Bolsheviks have dissolved the Constituent Assembly. A violent opposition to the government of Mr. Trotsky and Mr. Lenine is now expected to come from the Social Revolutionary Party. Most observers who are familiar with the situation believe there is little hope that the Bolsheviks will be removed from power. Also in the east, a treaty of peace has been reached between Germany and the newly independent Republic of Ukrainia. Ukrainia is a region lying between the Don River and the Austro-Hungarian frontier. Ukrania had long been a province of the Russian Empire but with the revolution in Russia the region decided to declare its independence.

In the Middle East, the British navy has won a great victory over the Turks in the Dardanelles at the mouth of the Turkish straits. The Turkish cruiser “Midulu” was sunk and the “Sultan Yawuz Selim” so badly damaged that it had to be beached. The “Midulu” was formerly the German ship “Breslau” and the “Sultan Yawuz Selim” formerly the German ship “Goeben”.