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 cloudy skies over the city today with the possibility of rain this evening. The temperature will be slightly warmer than the last few days with the high reaching 85° and the low about 65°. A Liberty Sing is scheduled tonight in the Sherwood section at 59th & Willows Avenue. The gathering has been occurring each Thursday evening in front of Mrs. Dollie Rathbun Smith’s home since the American victory on the Marne front. At first only 300 neighbors attended. The next week it was 600, the next 750. Tonight over 1000 residents of the area are expected to be singing patriotic songs and giving speeches in front of Mrs. Smith’s home.

Philadelphia’s first official curb market opened today at College and Ridge Avenues. All varieties of fruits and vegetables were available. There were luscious tomatoes, apples, peaches, pears, potatoes, lettuce, cucumbers and corn among other delicacies. Farmers from all around our area started lining up their wagons at 7:00am for the 9:00am opening. The market was arranged under the direction of the Federal Food Administration. The purpose is to bring down the costs of goods by eliminating the “middle man”. Most of the women doing their shopping today agreed that the prices were at least 20 cents cheaper than at stores. The ladies also commented on how fresh the produce was as it came directly from the farms. Requests have already been made for the establishment of other markets in various locations throughout the city.

Three hundred and fifty Negro men gathered at Starr Garden Recreation Center, 7th & Lombard Streets, this morning to begin their army service. The men are draftees from the 12th & Pine Streets local board. Several thousands of their friends and relatives were also on hand to say their goodbyes. The men received a grand send off. They were accompanied on their march up South Street to the train station at 24th & Chestnut Streets by two brass bands, a detail of mounted police and Philadelphia Home Defense Reserves and of course family and friends. The men will be training at Camp Lee in Virginia.

The Bolshevik government of Russia has declared that a state of war now exists between Russia and the United States. In Petrograd the American Vice Consul, Robert Imbrie, has lowered the American flag at the consulate and placed American affairs in the charge of the Norwegians.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Prior to entering the diplomatic service Imbrie drove an ambulance in France from 1915 till 1917 when America entered the war. For his service he received the Croix de Guerre, the White Rose Croix de Guerre, the Ambulance Medal and the Field Service Medal. After the war Imbrie was sent to Persia. On July 18, 1924 while serving as Vice Consul he was attacked and beaten by a Muslim mob in Tehran. Imbrie and a friend had gone to photograph a sacred well during a religious demonstration. The mob reportedly thought Imbrie was a member of the Baha’i religion. Baha’is were accused of trying to poison the well and upon seeing Imbrie the people became enraged and attacked him. He was beaten unconscious. After being rescued he was taken to a hospital but the mob followed, breaking into the operating room where he was being attended to and murdering him.]