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 predicted storm came and went quickly last night and this morning. Less than an inch of precipitation fell but the cold has stayed. Today’s high will be about 30° with the low around 16°. The Bureau of Health released its weekly mortality report for last week showing 554 deaths from all causes. That is 19 less than the previous week. Heart disease claimed 80 lives, while Bright’s disease killed 63 and tuberculosis 56. Influenza and pneumonia killed 55.

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has announced that a new Catholic High School will be built in West Philadelphia at 49th & Chestnut Streets. The hope is this new school will relieve the congestion at Catholic High School at Broad & Race Streets. Reportedly the land was purchased for $47,000.00.

A crazed man armed with a shotgun opened fire as he stood on the steps of the boarding house he lived in at 831 Washington Avenue this morning. When the shooting was over 1 man was dead and 5 others seriously wounded. The murderer is Antonio Pringo. The dead man was identified as Samuel Gunhelsen, a blind broom peddler. The other victims are Mrs. Mary Genovese and Mrs. Catherine Jacobs (shown below), Mr. Samuel Shields, Mrs. Jennie Schmuckler and Mr. Charles Vidrin.

Mrs. Mary Genovese and Mrs. Catherine Jacobs

Mrs. Mary Genovese and Mrs. Catherine Jacobs

Pringo began by shooting wildly up and down the street from the steps of the house. When the shooting started neighbors and hucksters in the street ran for cover but some were hit by the pellets. Some men in the neighborhood heard the shots and headed toward the street. When they saw what was happening they gathered at the corner and decided to charge the shooter en masse. Pringo saw this and retreated back inside the house. He then ran out the back door onto League Street. There he saw the blind broom salesman and shot him in the chest killing him instantly. Pringo then went back into the house. By then police had arrived. They entered the dwelling and disarmed him. After bringing him outside the police had to surround Pringo while they waited for the patrol wagon because the men of the neighborhood were begging for a chance to deal with him themselves.

Police believe Pringo is demented. He told them he bought the gun today to kill a man who attacked him this morning. He said the attack was the result of a feud that started many years ago in Naples, Italy. He is being held at the 7th & Carpenter Police Station.

Yesterday’s indoor track championship at the 3rd Regiment Armory was marred by the failure of the officials to correctly measure the track therefore the individual records made will not be permitted to stand. However, the games were played and Central High’s team came out on top taking the school’s 2nd championship trophy this week. Northeast High finished 2nd followed by South Philadelphia in 3rd and West Philadelphia in last place.