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


There will be fair skies today with clouds rolling in this evening. The high will reach 42° with the low about 23°. Mayor Smith today signed a bill leasing the Lazaretto at Essington to the Philadelphia School of Aviation for 10 years at a rent of $1.00 per year. Work will now begin on building the hangers and a new pier for hydroaeroplanes. The school is expected to open in May.

This week the Jews of Philadelphia will observe “Shekel Week” by the collection of .25¢ pieces (the equivalent of a Palestine shekel) from area Jews. The collection is being organized by the Central Zionist Committee of Philadelphia and the proceeds used for the creation of a Jewish nation and the restoration of Palestine to the Jews. Also hundreds of public and parochial school students were given a tour today of the Frankford Arsenal. This was the first time such an invitation has been extended. It was done as part of the celebration of the Arsenal’s 100 year anniversary. The children were shown how ammunition is made and how cartridges are filled. The young ones were especially interested in a demonstration on the making of shrapnel shells for howitzers.

W. Yorke Stevenson, well-known clubman and sportsman has left the city to serve with the American Ambulance Hospital in France. Mr. Stevenson (shown below) will act as an ambulance driver during his 4 month enlistment. He will be joining a large colony of Philadelphians already serving with the Hospital. Mr. Stevenson is a member of the Racquet Club, the Philadelphia Country Club, Philadelphia Skating Club and the Philadelphia Gun Club. He is an 1899 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and has won more than 100 trophies in shooting, motorboat racing, squash and track sports. [EDITOR’S NOTE: Stevenson would serve with American forces in the war and write 2 books about his experiences At The Front In A Flivver and From Poilu to Yank].

3-7-1916 W. Yorke Stevenson

In national news, today Indiana holds the first statewide presidential primary for 1916. President Wilson is on the Democratic ballot without opposition. On the Republican ballot Charles Warren Fairbanks, Vice-President under President Roosevelt and former Senator from Indiana, is unopposed.


There is fighting all along the western front. Australian troops have been dispatched to fight with the French at Verdun. German forces have captured Fresnes in the Woevre district. The French are counter-attacking northeast of Verdun in an attempt to retake the fort at Douaumont. French forces have also launched attacks in the Argonne which for now have been repulsed by the Germans. Southeast of Ypres, Belgium the Germans have gained back ground that they had lost to the English last month.  In the east, the Russians have captured the city of Bitlis, the 2nd most important city in Armenia. The Russians now have control of virtually the entire Lake Van region.