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 forecast calls for increasing cloudiness throughout the day with the possibility of snow overnight. Today’s high will reach 30° with the low near 21°. Mayor Smith announced today that henceforth City Hall shall be electrically illuminated every evening. Previously the tower was lit only on New Year’s Eve. The lighting will also illuminate Billy Penn and make the statue glow and be visible for miles. The Mayor believes that the sight of the glowing building will be a lasting memory for visitors but will also bring great joy and pride to this city’s citizens.

Two breach of promise to marry suits were filed in Common Pleas Court today. One was brought by Miss Daura Sharpless, 5140 Master Street against Mr. Louis Felt of 52nd & Girard and asking $10,000 in damages. Miss Sharpless claims Mr. Felt promised to marry her on May 10, 1915 but consistently delayed the wedding and has now flatly refuse marriage. A capias was issued for Mr. Felt’s arrest and bail was fixed at $300.00. The other case concerns Miss Mary Lavitz, 314 Lombard Street against Jacob Glick of 131 Spruce Street. Miss Lavitz charges that Mr. Glick tricked her into living with him telling her a marriage ceremony was not necessary. After a time Mr. Glick abandoned her. She is suing for $50,000.00.

The last surviving member of the crew of the Union Ironclad the U.S.S. Monitor and who fought at the Battle of Hampton Roads was laid to rest today. William Durst (shown below), 77 years old, died at his home at 1315 George Street on January 4th. His last wish was to be buried in his uniform and receive a military funeral. Both wishes were granted.


When hearing of the man’s request Commandant Russel of the Navy Yard provided sailors as pall bearers and a squad of riflemen for a last salute. The flag draped casket was accompanied by Mr. Durst’s widow, Anna and their son as well as other family members and friends. Also attending were members of the Association of Naval Veterans, The Old Guard of Philadelphia and the Army and Navy Union. The burial was at Mount Carmel Cemetery, Frankford & Cheltenham Avenues and presided over by Rabbi Max Klein of Adath Jeshurun Synagogue. As Mr. Durst was lowered into the ground a squad of 10 sailors and 1 officer fired their salute. After which the bugler sounded taps.

William R. Tucker, Russian Consul in Philadelphia, announced today that the Russian Imperial Government has ordered the return to Russia of all men in the reserves of the Empire. This is the first time Russia has made such a call to its subjects in America. Mr. Tucker said that Russian reservists living in the Philadelphia area should report to the consulate immediately.