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 a fierce snow storm tomorrow. Today’s skies will be grey and overcast with high winds. The high temperature will only reach 31° with the low tonight a cold 16°.

The Fralinger String Band’s annual ball will be held this evening at the New Auditorium Hall, 7th & Snyder Avenue. The grand march of the band will be led by 6 year old John Fralinger Jr. (shown below). Young Master Fralinger is no stranger to marching as he has participated in the Mummers parade. Music for the grand march and through the evening will be provided by the Band’s nearly 60 guitars and mandolins. The ball will be attended by members of many of the various mummers’ organizations of this city.

3-3-1916 John Fralinger Jr.

The sordid life of the Philadelphia drug underworld was described today during the arraignment in Federal Court of Ernest Percura also known as “Dago” Ernest. Percura was described as one of the leading drug peddlers of this city. Percura, a small, frail, boyish-looking man sat with a smile on his face as the charges against him were read. The evidence included directories with customer’s names found at one of his homes at 220 1/2 North Juniper Street. At a raid on Percura’s other house, 232 N. Camac Street, police and federal agents battled with thugs and dope fiends when making their arrests. Drugs including cocaine were found hidden under the floor boards. United States Attorney Kane charged that Percura “has been peddling misery and suffering for months” and that his house was visited at all hours of the day and night by drug users. Bail was set at $9,000.00, which is the largest amount ever set for someone charged with violation of the Harrison anti-narcotic law.

In sports this afternoon at the 3rd Regiment Armory, Broad & Wharton Streets, 245 athletes from 7 public schools will compete in the indoor track championships. Competition will be held in the 50-yard dash, 50-yard hurdles, 220-yard dash, 400-yard dash,  ½ mile and 2 mile runs, standing broad jump, high jump and shot-put. The Schools represented are Central High, Southern High, West Philadelphia High, Northeast High, Trades School, Frankford High and Germantown High.

In Eastern League Basketball tonight the Reading Bears will be visiting the Geystock Greys at Cooper Hall, 23rd & Christian Streets. Finally, a Sportsmen Show is being hosted this week at the 1st Regiment Armory at Broad & Callowhill Streets. Exhibits will be presented on tennis, golf and shooting. Rife matches are scheduled each day. Admission is .50¢ for adults and .25¢ for children.

In International news, members of the German community living in Lisbon, Portugal are leaving that country as a result of rumors that war will soon be declared. Germany has threatened war with Portugal because of the internment of 36 German and Austrian ships in Portuguese ports.