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 Weather Bureau is predicting that tonight will be the coldest night so far this winter. It is believed the temperature will drop to 13° in the city and below 10° in the suburbs. Today’s high will reach 44° under clear skies. The grip continues its attack on this city. Presently 300 public school teachers are absent from work which equals 5.5% of the teaching force. Some public schools are now closed due to the epidemic. Hundreds of factories and stores in the city are either closed or have limited hours due to the illness of the employees. The Health Bureau estimates that presently 100,000 Philadelphians are ill with the grip.

Mayor Smith today dismissed the bodyguard assigned to him saying “I have no need for a bodyguard”. The Mayor also said he will not employ a guard during his term in office. The Mayor’s guard was policeman Frank Everly who will now return to his former post at the corner of 5th &Market Streets.

On the sports scene, Robert C. Folwell (shown below) has been confirmed as the new head coach of the University of Pennsylvania football program. Mr. Folwell has previously coached at Lafayette and Washington and Jefferson. Mr. Folwell was a standout halfback for Penn from 1904 to 1907. In Eastern League Basketball last night Camden beat Jasper, 46 to 30, to move into a 3rd place tie with Trenton. Tonight Camden and Jasper meet again completing a home and home in Kensington at Nonpareil Hall.

Coach Robert Folwell

Coach Robert Folwell

It seems the lid is off in the Tenderloin. Last night and into the morning Chinatown was aglow. Every restaurant on Race Street was open and music, singing and laughter could be heard in the streets. Everywhere the men and women of the underworld discussed the possibility that with the new Mayor the town was now wide open. At the New Republic restaurant, 919 Race Street, men and women smoked cigarettes and cigars. Many of the women were still in their teens. Marines and sailors at a table in the corner started a brawl over a woman. All of them were drunk. Out on 9th Street shots were fired and someone said that the Hip Sing Tong and the On Leon Tong had resumed their war.

Police were everywhere but they were too few in number to control all the activity. Off in a side alley, down a flight of steps and through a door guarded by a large Negro a snowball was occurring. That is street slang for a cocaine party. The room was lit by a single bulb. Someone banged on a piano in a corner as men and women gyrated on the floor. The women were all of a certain profession while the men were dressed like clerks, except for the sailors. Cocaine was being freely dealt at exorbitant prices. At least for last night the lid was off in Tenderloin again.