Lowell in World War I: Mar 20-Mar 30, 1917

This year marks the centennial of the entry of the United States into World War One. To help commemorate this anniversary in Lowell, each week during 2017 and 2018, I hope to post the daily headlines that appeared in Lowell newspapers at that time.

The United States formally declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917. Today, we look at the two weeks that preceded that declaration.

March 20, 1917 – Tuesday – War orders given to Navy: Officials admit state of war exists. Further steps to protect American lives and property against U-boats. US ships may cooperate with British and French fleets to clear submarines out of shipping lanes.  Change in road grade at new bridge will cost $8450. This new plan is the outgrowth of agitation instigated by members of the Pawtucketville Improvement association.

March 21, 1917 – Wednesday – President calls extra session of Congress for April 2. President Wilson issues proclamation calling extraordinary session to act “on grave questions of national policy.” Congress will declare state of war exists and give president full power to defend rights and interests of United States. City Council votes to borrow $70,000 for macadam paving. Local doctor charged with unlawfully prescribing drugs for women. Dr. William C. McLean arraigned in Police Court this morning. Police allege that he prescribed cocaine for person whom he knew to be habitual user of drugs.

March 22, 1917 – Thursday – U.S. Rushes war plans. Germany must yield before reported offer to mediate will be considered. Old Bartlett school gutted by fire at early hour this morning. Building was being used as vocational school for boys.

March 23, 1917 – Friday – President Wilson prepares to address Congress. Will outline just what steps he believes Congress should take to meet warlike operations of U-boats. Official report says US ship torpedoed without warning. Kaiser is nervous wreck. Children have no right to play in street, says Mr. Molloy. Lowell Textile School asks $67,000 extra. Mayor O’Donnell wrote to Lowell Electric Light and Lowell Gas Light companies, asking about plans to guard city electrical plants if war comes.

March 26, 1917 – Monday – More troops called out. 32 National Guard regiments ordered into Federal Service. Second and Ninth Regiments of Mass. among first called out by President Wilson. (Lowell’s) Company M mobilized. Soldier boys ready for action. Patriotic meeting at armory in Westford Street was big success. Men Wanted for National Guard

March 27, 1917 – Tuesday – Flat Declaration of War considered by Congress leaders. Belgian workers face slavery, starvation and death. Council votes to call new park “The Cardinal O’Connell Parkway.”

March 28, 1917 – Wednesday – European War News: French push on.  Four more regiments of National Guard called out. Company M awaiting orders at armory. State inspector will force issue on school repairs.

March 29, 1917 – Thursday – Widespread unrest in Spain; suspension of constitutional guarantees. German raider sinks Japanese warship in southern Pacific. British victory over Turks in Palestine. Company M still awaits orders at armory. Chaotic condition in Appleton Street (due to laying of new sewer).

March 30, 1917 – Friday – Batteries called into Federal Service; additional Guard forces in Eastern states to be called out. Battery C to be nucleus of new Mass Field Artillery Regiment. Sentiment of country favors declaration of state of war. Lowell Day exercises in public and private schools today. (Lowell Day is April 1 but since that was a Sunday, it was celebrated on Friday, March 30. Lowell Day commemorates the establishment of Lowell as a city in 1836).

2 Responses to Lowell in World War I: Mar 20-Mar 30, 1917

  1. joe from Lowell says:

    See, everybody, a hundred years ago, people in Lowell were arguing about roads and school buildings while the world fell apart.

    Thank God those days are over.

    Sigh.

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