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. So, check back often 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 a brief shower in the afternoon. The high will reach 70° with the low tonight near 50°. The beach at Atlantic City will close up today, at least figuratively. The 100 valiant lifeguards who protect visitors and bathers are saying goodbye to their summer duties with a last dip in the water. Even though the water temperature today was registered at a balmy 70° it is time to end the season.

Atlantic City Lifeguards 1918

There has been an upsurge of the Spanish Flu in Camden including 5 deaths this week. Two of the deaths were of a 32 year old woman and her 11 year old son. The woman’s two other sons are in the hospital also ill with the disease. Camden has so far reported 3000 cases. Yesterday, a joint resolution was rushed through the Congress appropriating $1,000,000 to fight the influenza. Congress took the action after receiving reports of thousands of soldiers sick in camps across the country and that the illness may begin to effect morale. In this city officials believe the epidemic may have reached its crest.

Private Paul T. Hurley of 21 Cricket Avenue in Ardmore has been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross by General Pershing. The award was given for extraordinary heroism at Vierzy, France where he and a small detachment of fellow soldiers charged a German machine gun emplacement killing the crew and capturing the guns which they then turned on the enemy’s position. Private Hurley is 19 years old and a graduate of Our Mother of Good Council in Bryn Mawr and the Philadelphia Business College.

And Private Linsay Goeltz, 18 years old of Essington, has been awarded the Croix de Guerre for bravery under fire. Private Goeltz was driving an ambulance with four wounded men when it was disabled by shell fire. He first carried the men to safety then went back and repaired the vehicle in the open. After that he carried the men back to the car and drove them to the hospital. When presented the award the French divisional commander stated Pvt. Goeltz acted with “unselfish courage and sangfroid”.

In sporting news, the American League of Basketball here is trying to reform on a broader scale. Teams must still be organized and heated facilities found but there is hope the league will be able to play.  Presently three clubs are enrolled, St. Columba, Hancock and Port Richmond. Victor Talking Machine of Camden, Elliott-Lewis Co., Spokane A.C. and Progressive Cadets have all applied for membership. Basketball may also be coming to the shipyards. There are talks underway to form a league with teams from New York Shipbuilding, Sun Shipbuilding, Chester Shipyard, Pusey & Jones, Traylor and Merchant Ship of Bristol.


On the western front, the Allies attacked in five great offensives today. The French and Americans are attacking in Champaign while American and British troops strike at the Hindenburg line. The British have entered Cambrai and St. Quentin is surrounded. Belgian and French forces are attacking in Flanders.

The Kingdom of Bulgaria has agreed to all of the Allied terms and conditions and signed an Armistice. The terms include: the surrender of all Bulgarian troops outside of Bulgaria and the demobilization of the army within its borders, evacuation of all Serbian and Greek territories, a complete break of relations with Germany, Austria and Turkey and free access of Allied forces to Bulgarian territory. The Armistice was singed yesterday outside of Salonica in Thessalonica. French General Louis Franchet d’Espérey signed the agreement on behalf of the Allies. Bulgaria is the first of Germany’s allies to be driven from the war.

General Louis Franchet d’Espérey