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 weather will bring another fair sunny day to the city. The temperatures will be on the cool side with the high reaching 67° and the low tonight near 52°. The Spanish Flu epidemic continues to ravage the city and surrounding areas.

Director Wilmer Krusen issued an order today closing all saloons, distilleries, restaurant and hotel bars at 7:00pm tonight. The regulation will be put into effect by police officers throughout the city. Medical officials are considering turning the Third Regiment Armory at Broad & Wharton Streets into a temporary hospital. The Armory would be able to house 500 patients from South Philadelphia where the plague is at its worst. It was said by city councilman Frank J. Willard today that the people of South Philadelphia are “falling like leaves” from the epidemic. Today 788 new cases of the Influenza were reported in the city.

Also today the Court of Common Pleas announced it is suspending business for at least 2 weeks. And members of the Philadelphia Fire Fighters Association, Local 22, voted last night to waive all contractual and legal rights to help fight the grip. The members pledged to do anything necessary to assist the people of this city. This includes performing any duties needed and working 24 hour shifts if necessary in the battle against the epidemic.

The Shipyards along the Delaware continue to be impacted by the disease. At Pusey & Jones 28% of the workforce is ill while at the New York Shipyard in Camden 20% are out of work. At Camp Dix in New Jersey there have been 857 new cases this week resulting in 84 deaths. Soldiers at Camp Dix are required to gargle with hot salt water to help prevent infection.

Soldiers Gargling at Camp Dix

Undertakers in the city and in surrounding towns have run out of coffins. The undertakers are asking people to postpone funerals as long as possible. The shortage of coffins is due to the dramatic increase in deaths and also to the fact that the government has commandeered the output of coffin manufactures for the burial of soldiers who have died in the camps. Some undertakers are resorting to the old practice of building coffins out of rough wood to make up for the shortage.