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


Grey cloudy skies hang over the city today with moderate winds out of the south. The warm temperatures continue with today’s high around 60° and the low tonight near 28°. Mayor Smith today issued a proclamation recognizing Thursday, January 27th as a day of charity on behalf of the 9,000,000 Jews living in war-devastated Europe. The Mayor joined with Governor Brumbaugh in recommending to all Philadelphians that they answer the appeal and donate whatever they are able to help these unfortunate people.

Bill the horse has died and the policemen at the Trenton Avenue & Dauphin Street station are in mourning. Bill (shown below) was one of the horses that pulled the station’s patrol wagon. He had done so for 25 years and that alone had found him a place in the hearts of the bluejackets at the station. But Bill also died a hero. Yesterday he was pulling the wagon at full speed carrying little Francis Mellon of 2405 Letterly Street to the Episcopal Hospital. Young Francis had been terribly scalded after pulling a kettle of boiling water from the stove down upon himself. Speed was of the essence and Bill and his partner made the run in record time. But as they reached the hospital entrance Bill collapsed. His big heart just gave out.

Bill the horse

According to police and city policy Bill is only entitled to a quicklime burial or to be sold to a plant and made into fat and soap. But the policemen at the station feel he deserves a proper burial. So a collection was taken up by the men. Bill’s friends in the neighborhood, including students at Northeast High School for Girls and the Boy Scout troop heard about the collection and are donating what they can. Tonight Bill lies at the Shoemaker Horse Morgue, Delaware Avenue & Venango, where policemen and friends are stopping by to say one last goodbye.

Former Pennsylvania Governor Samuel Pennypacker (1903-1907), who now serves on the Public Service Commission, has issued an open letter on the subject of the war in Europe and America’s neutrality. Mr. Pennypacker is a known supporter of the German Empire in the conflict and suggests that should Germany win the war the United States should immediately annex Canada.


On the western front, giant German aeroplanes dropped bombs on Dunkirk this morning. Early Sunday morning British docks and military barracks in Dover, England were bombed by Fokker type aeroplanes. The Fokker is one of the most modern flying craft and carries appliances for the aiming of bombs. Dover is 65 miles southeast of London. The government did not release any information on the extent of the damage or casualties in either attack.