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


A heavy fog greeted commuters this morning on their way to work. The fog was so dense that some remarked it might be a German gas attack. Trains and trolleys ran cautiously sounding horns and ringing bells every few seconds as a warning of their approach. On the Delaware ships and ferries creeped along sounding constant warnings to avoid disaster. By mid-morning the fog had cleared. The unseasonably warm temperatures may have played a role in the unusual fog. Today’s high will reach 61° with a low of 44°.

Police distributed more than 7000 alien registration cards throughout the city today. The cards were given to the German and Austrian enemy alien residents who registered last month. The aliens were very happy to receive the cards since having one will prevent them from being interned.

A proposal will be made next week to the License Court for the closing of saloons between the hours of 1:00am and 5:00am Monday through Friday and from midnight on Saturday to 5:00am on Monday. Surprisingly the proposal is being made by the Retail Liquor Dealers Protective Association which is composed of 1600 saloonkeepers. The Association says the proposal is purely patriotic. The Association wants to prevent men who work in war industries from spending their evenings drinking or for night shift workers being tempted to drink on the way to work.

South Philadelphia High School has great hopes that it will be the high school baseball champion this season. Those hopes rests upon the shoulders of a 15 year old, 5’4”, 125 lbs., right-hander named Benjamin Pellowitz. According to South Philadelphia’s Coach Ker, “Pelly” as his teammates call him, throws an almost unhittable curve ball. Some call it a “freak” pitch. The secret to his delivery is that Pelly has six fingers on his right hand! That’s four fingers and two thumbs. Pelly calls the pitch a “4 finger curve ball” and it mystifies opposing batsmen. And that’s the pitch that Coach Ker and the rest of the team are hoping will lead them to the Interscholastic League Championship.

Benny Pellowitz



On the western front, Allied aeroplanes bombed German military sites in Belgium doing extensive damage. Important railway lines running into German bases near Courtrai were struck as were ammunition dumps at Bruges. On the eastern front, peace negotiations have begun at Buftea Castle near Bucharest between German representatives and the Rumanian government. In the Middle East, British forces have occupied Khana Burayat and are now within 10 miles of Hit. Hit is located on the Euphrates River about 75 miles from Bagdad.