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 fair skies and warm temperatures today for the city. The high will reach 60° with a low tonight of 31°. This morning 1000 girls of Kensington High School attended a talk on life in the British Isles during the war. The lecture, entitled “War Experiences”, was given in the main auditorium at Amber & Cumberland Streets by Sergeant Patter of the Canadian Scotch Highlanders. Sergeant Patter described how the entire British population is fully engaged in winning the war. The Sergeant also said he believed the war may go on for another 2 years.

The 4th floor of City Hall will soon become a dormitory. The inhabitants will be soldiers on their way to France. The first group of residents will be Army truck drivers. The decision was made because of the lack of housing for these men as they pass through the city. Recently the men have been forced to sleep in their trucks which are parked along the Parkway and on City Hall Plaza.

Army Trucks on City Hall Plaza

And down at League Island, The sailors and marines stationed at the Navy Yard will be treated to a musical revue today in celebration of St. Valentine’s Day. The songs and dances will be provided by the young ladies of the Motor Messenger Service.

Explosions rocked Ridge Avenue at 23rd Street this morning. The blasts blew off three manhole covers shortly after 6:00am and left a 4 foot wide hole in the street. Dirt and stones were blown at least 100 feet into the air and windows were shattered from the force of the blast. The residents of the neighborhood poured into the streets in confusion and fear. The damage appears to have been the result of a gas main explosion under the corner of Columbia & Ridge Avenues. No injuries have been reported.


On the western front, German infantry raids followed an artillery barrage east of Merckem in Belgium. The Belgian troops repulsed the German attacks. This was the first action on the Belgium front in a number of weeks. On the Italian front, every man in an Austrian garrison near Caposile just north of Venice was killed by Italian mines. The Italians had dug a trench under the Austrian position and laid the mines which they then exploded. The Italians then entered the Austrian trenches and removed all the equipment, weapons and ammunition of the dead Teutons.