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 rain, that began overnight, will continue off and on today. At times the downpour will be heavy. The high will only reach 69° with the overnight low near 56°. The Municipal Band has closed it concert season for the summer and announced that attendance at its performances broke all previous records. Over 638,500 people attended the 87 performances of the Band in various locations throughout the city.

In other entertainment news, there is good news for theatre lovers, the old Walnut Street Theatre at 9th & Walnut will not go on the auction block for sale. The heirs of John Sleeper Clark, who owned the Theatre since the 1850s, have withdrawn the building from sale. The Theatre will reopen next Monday under new management. The Walnut Street Theatre is the oldest in the city having opened in 1809.

At the Navy Yard 800 sailors and marines have been made ill with the Spanish influenza. Strict isolation has been imposed on the sick men both at the Yard and the Naval Hospital. Steps are being taken to prevent the spread of the disease from reaching the 30,000 workers at Hog Island and the city itself. The disease is thought to have arrived at the Navy Yard with sailors and troops from Boston.

Philadelphia Navy Yard Hospital

So far 150 cases have been transferred to the City Hospital for Contagious Diseases at 2nd & Luzerne Streets. The Episcopal Hospital has also offered to receive patients to relieve overcrowding at the Naval Hospital. At the Pennsylvania Hospital physicians are treating patients and attempting to discover the nature of the species and the mode of attack of the bacillus. The physicians believe that the germs are much like the common grip. The symptoms include inflammation of the eyes, throat and nose causing a disorganization of the respiratory system.

Dr. Wilmer Krusen of the Department of Health and Charities and Dr. A.A. Cairns of the Bureau of Health said today that there is little evidence of the disease among the city’s population and neither man expected a general outbreak. However, they did advise that citizens not associate with sailors or marines who have recently arrived from Europe.