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


The skies will be overcast and gray today with continuing cold temperatures. Today’s high will only reach 33° with a low tonight of 25°. The hospital unit organized by the University of Pennsylvania Medical School has been ordered to mobilize at the First Cavalry Armory, 32nd & Lancaster Avenue, on Friday. The unit is designated as Base Hospital Number 20. It is believed that this mobilization means the Hospital will shortly be leaving for France. The Hospital staff includes 25 commissioned medical doctors, 65 nurses, 50 female volunteer nurses’ aides and 153 enlisted personnel (shown below at Franklin Field) including Penn football players Bert Bell and Howard Berry.

University of Pennsylvania Base Hospital 20,

Formal orders were issued today by the Department of Justice prohibiting any enemy alien from coming within 100 yards of the waterfront. Owners of shipyards and other businesses involved in war production are required to post guards around their facilities. Wharves, docks, piers and grain elevators will be guarded by Federal agents or National Guardsmen. Mr. Frank Garbarino of the Department of Justice said today that the rumor that enemy aliens found within a 100 yard radius will be shot on sight is untrue. Such aliens will in fact be arrested and held, perhaps for the duration of the war.

On the sports scene the basketball season is fully under way. The Industrial Basketball League opens its season tonight at Nonpareil Hall, Kensington Avenue & Ontario Street, when J.J. Dobson faces off against Elliott-Lewis Electrical Company. Following that game, Barrett Company of Frankford meets Quaker City Chocolate and Confectionery Company. The other teams in the league are: United Gas Improvement Company; Curtis Publishing Company, H.W. Butterworth & Sons Company of Kensington; and Lanston Monotype Machine, Co.

The American Basketball League is not only the oldest league in this city but also in the country. The league will open its season next Monday night and all games will be played at the Hall at Franklin Street & Columbia Avenue. The 6 teams in the league are: The Y.M.H.A.; Girard Alumni; St. Columbia; Port Richmond Y.M.C.A.; Brotherhood Beth Israel; and Hancock Athletic Association.


The French army has joined the British in hammering the Germans on the western front. French forces under General Petain have struck just north of Verdun taking 800 prisoners and gaining a great deal of ground. The taking of this area cuts off a route of German re-enforcement to Prince Rupprecht’s army around Cambrai. It also impedes the available routes of German retreat. Field Marshal Haig stated today he believes Cambrai and Queant will shortly fall to the British onslaught.