|Image from the PAB|
This caused quite the stir to the usual passersby, many of whom thought there was a beauty contest going on at the Opera House. The Triangle Film Corp's reps then came out on to the street and warned the crowd that the usher job will have a strange requirement: each usher will be required to wear a uniform that looks exactly like the costume worn by Sarah Bernhardt in the 1900 opera L'Aiglon.
|This is the costume. She's playing a dude.|
Rumble Erupts at a Tango in the Tenderloin
Back in 1915, the Tenderloin, an area we call part of the Loft District/North Chinatown/Eraserhood today, was a crazy place. Even a fun little party could lead to chaos. This was the case in the first week of September, 1915, when friends Jennie Murphy and Margaret Wilson decided to throw a Tango party, inviting two dancing partners for themselves, Thomas Murphy and William Carr, to their house at 330 N. 11th Street (later demolished to make way for the Reading Viaduct).
Before any music or dancing even began, all four had a difference of opinion on how to properly execute a Tango and got into a vicious fight. Each one started throwing any object they could get their hands on at each other, including china, pottery, picture frames, forks, and spoons. When a china plate flew out the window and nearly hit a pedestrian, the cops were called. Officers Slook, Lowery, and Hayes ran over from the nearby police station at 10th and Buttonwood and entered the house through the front door.
Upon the appearance of the cops, all four arguers suddenly united against the one thing they all hated: law enforcement. They proceeded to then pelt the three officers with the very household objects they were just dodging. The cops ran down the basement steps and hid under some chairs for several minutes until the four attackers ran out of stuff to throw. They then climbed back up the stairs and were able to get them to surrender.
Giant Pile of Crap Left Behind By the Billy Sunday Tabernacle
Billy Sunday was a former Philadelphia Phillie that later in life became the single most influential preacher in the United States. He would go from city to city, erecting giant temporary structures where he could evangelize to thousands at a time (without a sound system!). Sunday's Tabernacle came through Philadelphia in March of 1915.
|No surviving images of the temporary structure but there is this one drawing from March 15, 1915 depicting Billy losing his shit during on of the Philadelphia sermons. Image from the Free Library of Philadelphia|
|The pile of shit in question.|
The city ended up having to spend $500 clearing Billy Sunday's shitpile in order to start construction on the Free Library, which was completed in 1927, many years later. Billy Sunday himself is pretty much responsible for Prohibition getting passed... so leaving a giant pile of crap behind for others to clean up is not the worst thing he ever did.
City Can't Find Slumlords, Arrests Tenants Instead
On June 11th, 1915, an act was passed stating that "modern conveniences" should be available in every tenement house in the city. It was not until the first week of September, however, when any of part of this act was actually enforced. On that week, Arthur E. Buchholz, supervisor of the Department of Sanitation of the Bureau of Housing, chose the five occupied properties in the city that were in the worst condition: 1231 Kenilworth St, 909 Poplar St, 620 North 3rd St, 916 Lombard St, and the only one still standing today, 1133 Pine St.
The problem, however, was this: they couldn't find any of the owners of these places. The solution? Arrest the tenants! Some of them were just living at these places, others were proprietors that worked for the owners. Each defendant made the excuse that they've pleaded with the owners of their buildings to repair the places but never got a response. No record exists of what happened after this, but even today the city has a hard time finding certain slumlords. If only Philadelinquency was around back then!
|1133 Pine, the only one of those five properties still standing. Its obviously doing a lot better nowadays. Image from Google Streetview.|