Lowell in World War One: June 26 – July 1, 1917

This is the thirteenth weekly installment of my Lowell in World War One series which commemorates the centennial of the entry of the United States into World War One. Here are the headlines from one hundred years ago this week:

June 25, 1917 – Monday – Lowell Must Do Her Bit for Regular Army – 70,000 new recruits are needed to bring regular army up to authorized strength. Lowell Behind on Red Cross War Fund – Chairman Marden said that Lowell would fall short of its goal if there weren’t some large donations made this afternoon. Italian Flag Unfurled on Sun Building (in honor of the arrival of the Italian mission in Boston today).

June 26, 1917 – Tuesday – Victory for French on Aisne Front. Venizelos in Athens to Form Greek Cabinet. Lowell to the front in Red Cross fund. It looked like Lowell might fail to reach her quota in contributions to the Red Cross fund, but an avalanche of large subscriptions was forthcoming yesterday afternoon and Lowell was saved. The big boost came from the Locks and Canals mill treasurers representing ten mills. They donated $10,000. The US Cartridge Co was next with a $5000 donation.  Graduation exercises at the Vocational School. The annual graduation exercises of the Girls’ Vocational school were held this morning at the school. Miss Louisa Prior, agent for the state board of education, was the principal speaker, and Mayor O’Donnell presented the diplomas.

June 27, 1917 – Wednesday – Second Contingent of American Troops Arrives in France. Otto Hockmeyer gives $500 to K of C Fund. Large Amount Pledged for Red Triangle – The campaign of the Lowell Red Triangle committee to raise $50,000 of the $4,000,000 fund to be raised for YMCA military purposes opened last night at the YMCA Building. Lowell Men in Navy Promoted – Large group of men from Lowell have finished their training at Newport and have now been assigned to various ships and shore duties. Graduation exercises held in grammar schools. Several hundred graduates of the Lowell grammar schools conducted their commencement exercises in their school halls today which were predominated by an element of the patriotic which has heretofore never been witnessed. First Street Boulevard. Work on the construction of the new boulevard through Indian Orchard in Centralville will be started soon. The new highway will begin at the entrance to the First Pentecostal Church on First Street and will extend along the river to First Street near the car barn. From that point to the Dracut line, First street will be widened to where it meets the Lowell Lawrence Boulevard.

June 28, 1917 – Thursday – Thousands of American troops encamped in France ready for order to fight. Regulars and marines fresh from the Mexican border or Haiti or Santo Domingo were landed yesterday. Recruiting Tent for Regular Army set up at Central and Jackson street intersection. Red Triangle campaign fund has reached $29,000. Immediate Reduction in the Price of Coal – agreement was reached yesterday between the Federal government and coal mine operators for an immediate reduction of $1 to $1.50 per ton for coal. Six Suffragists are sent to jail. Arrested for obstructing sidewalk, given choice of $25 fine or three days in jail. All chose jail. Lowell High School sends out 319 graduates – Brilliant scene at Keith’s Theatre.

June 29, 1917 – Friday – Mayor O’Donnell urges men to enlist – Red Triangle Campaign a Big Success – K of C War Fund Campaign – Dance for Benefit of Ninth Regiment (at the Kasino in Thorndike street, organized by the Telephone Operators’ club, aka the “hello” girls). Women’s Meeting to be held tomorrow (Meeting of officers of all women’s organizations of the city has been called by Mayor O’Donnell at the request of Mrs. Butler Ames, one of the promoters of the movement which will begin next week among housekeepers throughout the country for the prevention of food waste). Soldier Boys Given Big Reception at Depot. RR cars carrying companies C, G and K of the Sixth Regiment under command of Major Colby Kittredge arrived “from somewhere in New Hampshire.” They were accompanied by Company L of the Sixth, “a colored company from Boston.” They only stopped in Lowell, were joined by their machine gun company, and then resumed their trip to the camp in Framingham. President Wilson Against Prohibition of Beer. Pres Wilson stepped into the prohibition fight over the food bill today. He told Senate leaders he agreed the using foodstuffs to make whiskey and gin should be halted, but manufacturing of beer and wine should continue for now. (indications that president feels this has taken up entirely too much time and has warned of the danger of “radical and sweeping legislation at this time.”).

June 30, 1917 – Saturday – Recruiting for Army and Navy – Another quota of young men will leave Lowell for Newport on Monday. All the Lowell companies of the National Guard, including new recruits, are in camp at Framingham, except for Company M which is still in Newburyport. Lowell Women Will Wage War Against Food Waste (“member of United States Food Administration”). Working with Herbert Hoover, federal director of food administration. Goal is to have every housekeeper enrolled in a food conservation campaign. There is also a “nifty, neat patriotic uniform” made of washable materials in fast colors.

2 Responses to Lowell in World War One: June 26 – July 1, 1917

  1. Karen Spence says:

    This is so interesting. My grandfather served in WWI. He ultimately wrote letters to the Lowell Sun (to Mary Sampas as “Pertinax”) that were printed in her column. I found one recently from 1972 where he talks about nightlife in pre-First World War Lowell. He talks about the shows at the former church that was on Shattuck and Market Streets that you mention on your walks. He was quite a writer. My aunt has several letters he wrote to his cousin while serving overseas. She said they were fascinating. I have yet to read them, but I plan to.

  2. DickH says:

    Hi Karen – since this is the Centennial of America’s involvement in World War One, we’re trying to post things on this site related to Lowell’s involvement in that conflict. If you’d like to share all or some of your grandfather’s letters from overseas with our readers, please let me know. –Dick Howe