The onset of World War I came as a surprise to many Mid-Southerners, yet, like much of the rest of the nation, Memphians joined the war effort with unprecedented determination. When the armed forces set up recruiting stations at the Tri-State Fair, able-bodied men lined up to enlist.
Citizens organized preparedness parades, and Memphis homemakers rallied to raise awareness about wartime rationing. Local mothers attended demonstrations on how to plan a menu for “Meatless Mondays” and “Wheat-Less Wednesdays.”
On July 15, 1916, the Harahan Bridge opened for railroad traffic, the second bridge built in Memphis to cross the Mississippi River. Originally named the Rock Island bridge, the steel structure was renamed for Memphis businessman J.T. Harahan, who had been killed in a 1912 train wreck.