Thursday, May 1, 2014

99 Years Ago in Philadelphia-- First Week of May, 1915

A Gigantic Women's Suffrage Parade Takes Over the City 

          On May 1st, 1915, a planned Women's Suffrage parade was set to take place, with participants called to meet beforehand on Washington Square. About 1,000 women were expected but about 10,000 showed up, some of which waited there since early in the morning. At 3pm, the parade's grand marshal mobilized the throngs of ladies into military precision, marching them up 7th Street. With banners and signs in hand, some women ran out of their workplaces and followed along.
           For the older ladies, a group of cars and buses were volunteered to bring them along the parade route for a fee of $2. The gigantic parade attracted large groups of both men and women as it turned onto Market Street, then to North Broad, finally descending onto the Metropolitan Opera House at 4:30pm, when a bunch of Suffrage-related lectures/events were to take place. Along the route, there were six designated stands where famous leaders of the Women's Suffrage cause would publicly proselytize.
           A good time was had by all. Nowadays, Women's Suffrage is so taken for granted that its a funny youtube prank to get women to sign a petition to end it.

Who the fuck stole the Liberty Bell's clapper?

            This week in May, 1915, visitors to Independence Hall started to notice that the clapper of the Liberty Bell, which was on display at the bottom of the main staircase, was missing. The guards that normally patrolled the area didn't seem too bothered. The curator of the bell, Wilifred Jordan, gave a bunch of shady answers when reporters asked him about it. When prompted, he said "I don't want to talk about it" and "Ask Chief Ball (of the Bureau of City Property)".
           This led reporters to start spreading the lie that the clapper was stolen by a crazy souvenir hunter. The bell was in a glass case at the time so this would be an exceedingly difficult theft. It wasn't until half a week later that Chief William H. Ball finally admitted that the clapper had been removed to make room for the steel support that would be employed to keep the bell safe on its long train ride across the West for the Panama Pacific Exposition in San Fransisco. The same steel support, known as the "spider", is still in the bell today.

The inside of the bell from 2003 when it was getting stress-tested by the NSF. Photo from

Flash Mob of Housewives Fucks Up the 1000 Block of Arch

                  Back in the day, some stores offered something called "Trading Stamps". These were the predecessors to modern day store club cards and memberships. You would collect these little coupons that were worth points that were worth a fraction of a cent each. After you collected enough points, you could go to other stores and redeem them for certain products.
                 On this week in May, 1915, the Acme Tea Company announced that their trading stamp subsidiary, the Crown Stamp Company, would be going out of business and to redeem your stamps as soon as possible. This, of course, was irresponsible as crap. The very next day, 3000 women descended onto the Crown Trading Stamp Premium Store at 1007-09 Arch Street, panicked as shit. The weather that day was terrible, a huge rainstorm falling while everyone waited outside. As the doors opened, people were trampled, their pocketbooks and stampbooks stolen, and the front display window of the store got shattered.
               In the aftermath, several of the women were hurt and robbed. A six-year-old boy was abandoned. News spread of the melee and somehow caused an EVEN BIGGER crowd the next day. Other trading stamp-redeeming stores also experienced huge crowds, the customers assuming that they would go out of business soon as well. The crowds were reported to be mostly foreigners, with all sections of the city and surrounding suburbs represented. The Camden branch of the Crown Trading Stamp Premium Store got overrun as well.
              The Acme Tea Company (predecessor to the Acme supermarket of today) was forced to put ads out promising that customers will be able to redeem their stamps until August 1st, 1915.

oh, and The Lusitania is torpedoed by a German Submarine, killing 17 Philadelphians

              This is an insignificant event of little importance, proven by this small blurb in Wikipedia about it.

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