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 partly cloudy skies over the city today with the possibility of a thunder shower this afternoon. The high will reach 81° with the low tonight around 66°. Today Philadelphia observed Decoration Day or as some also call it Memorial Day with parades and solemn observances in memory of those who have given the “last full measure of devotion” for this Country. Every city, town and village in this country will be doing the same. Federal, State and City offices are closed as are most stores and business including the department stores in the center city. For today is a day to remember and honor the dead, not for commerce.

The remaining veterans of the 35 local posts of the Grand Army of the Republic turned out today to do their duty to their fallen comrades by visiting cemeteries and adorning every soldier’s grave with a flag and flower. Only 2,398 of these men now remain among us. And although age and infirmary has afflicted many with poor eyesight, hindered gait and bent backs they did not shirk in there appointed task. These older men were joined by the veterans of the Spanish-American War, the Philippine rebellion and the incident at Vera Cruz. No soldier’s grave was forgotten.

Soldiers, sailors and marines from the Navy Yard paraded on Broad Street to the Vine Street pier on the Delaware where ships had been decorated with floral arrangements in memory of those lost at sea.

5-30-1916 Parade(2)

5-30-1916 Parade(1)


The parade made a stop at the Union League and at Independence Hall for review. At Vine Street speeches were made after which flowers were dropped into the water in remembrance.  Parades will also be held in almost every neighborhood to remember the dead. Most will culminate at the neighborhood cemetery where their men have been laid to rest. There will also be a parade and service in Fairmount Park which will be attended by Governor Brumbaugh and Mayor Smith as well as other city dignitaries.

On Fame’s eternal camping ground,

Their silent tents are spread,

And Glory keeps with solemn round

The bivouac of the dead.”

By Theodore O’Hara

On the sports scene today, the public golf course at Cobb’s Creek Park opened this morning with many enthusiasts on hand. The course is just west of the 69th Street terminal. The Devon Horse Show opens today. Over 1,800 entries are listed in the various competitions. At Point Breeze Park a full day is planned. At 3:00pm the Ancient Order of Hibernians will hold their national games. Fourteen events are planned. And at 8:30 this evening the motordrome will begin its racing season with a 40 mile bicycle race followed by 5 motorcycle races. In baseball, the Phillies are hosting the giants here for a doubleheader while the A’s are up in New York for a doubleheader with the Yankees.