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 Bureau forecasts cloudy skies today with light rains this evening. The high will reach 86° with the low tonight near 72°. Benjamin Alexander, 29 years old of 2515 North Front Street, drowned while swimming in the surf in Wildwood yesterday. Upon recovering his body it was seen to be covered with lacerations and bites. The body will be examined to determine if Alexander’s death was the result of a shark attack. A number of bathers had to be rescued all along the southern New Jersey coast because of rip currents and towering combers which raked the shore front.

The Walnut Street Theatre, 9th & Walnut Streets, will be sold at auction on September 18. The Walnut has been occupied continuously for various public amusements for 109 years and is the oldest theatre in the city. Recently the theatre has fallen on hard times. In November of 1915 it closed its doors because it was unable to pay its debts and did not reopen until Christmas. Hopefully a new owner will improve the venue’s circumstances and it will remain a part of this city’s theatre scene for many years to come.

The war, it seems, has brought the feminine sex into almost every occupation. And that now even includes milk delivery truck driver. Miss Ella Lee Tavenner, delivers milk from her family’s dairy farm near Devon. And her customers and neighbors think she is doing a wonderful job. She is taking the place of her brother who is serving in France. The former schoolteacher says since he is doing his bit so should she. This lovely young lass delivers hundreds of quarts of milk a day and enjoys her work. The pretty milk maid is tall, well built with dark hair and an open friendly smile. She tries to make her daily work clothes as ladylike as possible, wearing olive trouserettes and blouse with leggings.

Ella Lee Tavenner

Across the River in New Jersey the New York Shipbuilding Company is building a home for thousands of its workers. A new town within a town is being constructed in West Collingswood. The place will be called Yorkshire Village and when completed it will contain 2000 homes. Already 800 homes are under construction. Each house will be built of wood frame and brick, be two stories high with 4 to 6 rooms and contain every modern convenience. Architecturally the houses will resemble old colonial homes in design. The company hopes to have 900 homes ready for occupancy by October 15.

Yorkshire Village


A large offensive was attempted today by German forces between Vailly and Sosissons. The attack was an utter failure as the French troops under General Mangin repulsed the Huns at every point. South of the Somme the French are attacking eastward into the Ailette salient. The British are also on the attack. They have driven the Germans back two miles along a four mile front northeast of Neuville-Vitasse on the Cojuel River. Our troops are also driving the Germans back along a two mile front east of Fismes on the Vesle River. The Doughboys now hold the railway lines on both sides of the city.  The War Department casualty list today contains 213 names including 52 killed in action, 20 dead from wounds, 8 dead from disease or accident, 24 missing and 109 wounded.