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 cloudy overcast skies today with the high reaching 74° and the low this evening about 41°.

A story of planned German sabotage leads the news today. Robert Fay (shown below), a lieutenant in the German army and two other men were arrested in Weehawken, N.J. yesterday and charged with conspiracy to commit sabotage. Today Fay confessed saying the intent of the conspirators was to damage ships and stop munitions from reaching the Allies.

10-26-1915 RobertFay

Fay asserts that he had seen action in France and felt that something had to be done to stop the Allies from obtaining more war material. He contends the horrors he saw on the battlefield compelled him to take action. He declared that although he was provided help by the German Secret Service to enter America he was also instructed to leave American vessels alone and only target Canadian ships.

Fay states he is not a spy and will provide the American government with any information it desires. The German Embassy today denied any knowledge of the men or their activities. Police in New Jersey found bomb making equipment in storage trunks belonging to Fay. The material included 300 lbs. of dynamite. The three men are being held over on bail in New Jersey and Federal authorities have asked the court there to hold the men until they arrive to question them. Other members of the conspiracy are still being sought.

In local news, the campaign to raise funds for the construction of a Negro hospital in South Philadelphia has been extended till November 10th.  The cost of construction for Mercy Hospital at 19th & Federal Streets is estimated at $150,000.00. The hospital is designed as a perpetual memorial to Abraham Lincoln. Many Negro churches in South Philadelphia are contributing to the effort. They are joined in the effort by Wesley African Methodist Episcopal Church, 15th & Lombard, First African Baptist Church, 16th & Christian and Shiloh Baptist Church, 11th & Lombard.

Almost 1000 Italian men who had recently called Philadelphia their home have left to join the army of King Victor Emmanuel on the steamship “Dante Alleghiere”. The ship sailed from New York yesterday as a band serenaded the men with “Viva Garibaldi” and the “Star Spangled Banner”.

In political news, George Porter, candidate for mayor on the Franklin Party/Independent ticket charged today that Thomas Smith, Republican Party candidate, is ineligible to run for the office. Mr. Porter asserts that Mr. Smith is not a resident of this city as required by law to seek the office of Mayor. Mr. Porter presented evidence that although Mr. Smith states he lives at 2444 North Broad Street in fact he and his family live in Glenside in Montgomery County.