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


Philadelphia will have partly cloudy skies today with moderate winds from the northeast. The high will reach 51° and the low near 41°. Director of Public Safety Wilson issued a Police Order today requiring that stores be closed on Sundays. The only exceptions are those dealing in the necessities of life such as drug stores. Also, stores that sell milk, bread, meat and other edibles may be opened from 9:00am till 5:00pm. The order was prompted by numerous complaints about stores on Market Street being opened for business on recent Sundays.

Mayor Smith along with Transit Director Twining, Chief McLoughlin of the Electric Bureau and representatives of the Keystone Construction Company toured the subterranean passages under City Hall today (shown below). The reason for the visit was to ascertain the practicability of putting a subway stop under the building. The party saw several holes in the foundations and large cracks in the huge granite blocks. Some of the blocks were even cracked in half. After an extensive tour it became clear to the Mayor that any major construction here would lead to disaster. The Mayor concluded that any station under City Hall would be not just impractical but dangerous.


On the sports beat, The University of Pennsylvania basketball team is the 1916 champions of the Intercollegiate Basketball League. Last night at Weightman Hall Penn had the better of Princeton by the score of 16 to 14. Penn’s team had to be almost forced into this playoff game. The players were tired, some injured and the school was worried at the decrease of the athletes’ scholastic performance. But a faculty committee concluded that the red and blue should be given the chance for glory and they took it. Congratulations Penn.

In baseball, Phillies pitcher Erskine Mayer is a father but he doesn’t know it yet. The southpaw became a daddy at midnight to a 9 pound, blue eyed girl. She was born at the Mayer home at 1627 West Lehigh Avenue. Mrs. Mayer, the former Eleanor Jocher, is resting comfortably today. “Pa” hasn’t been told about the birth because of fear he would desert the training camp to rush home and see the new addition to the family. But word will be sent to him soon.


On the western front, repeated attacks by German troops against French positions in Avocourt Wood have resulted in heavy loses to the Kaiser’s men and heaps of dead bodies on the field. The attacks were intended to drive the French out of the southeastern part of Avocourt Wood which the French recently captured. French machine guns swept the field as the Germans repeatedly attacked over a 4 hour period. The German dead and wounded are numbered at over 15,000.