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Thirteen Ball: 1918

Thirteen Ball: 1918

Washington, D.C., 1918. "Liberty Hut, Y.M.C.A." (W.W.H.D.?) Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative, Library of Congress. View full size.


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Re: Hully Gee

I wonder if it is clean-language euphemism akin to "gosh darn." Hully Gee(t) doesn't sound all that different from drawling, "Hœly shēēt."

[Most references I've found say it's "Holy Jesus!" - tterrace]

Hully Geet!

Washington Post, July 14, 1918.

Largest “Y” Hut Here

Former Sunday Tabernacle Doing Great Service for Soldiers.

“Hully Geet. This is a regular place with sheets and pillows.”

So one soldier exclaimed after he had been awakened from his sleep on a bench in Union Station and showed the way to Liberty Hut, just across the station plaza.

Not only a bed, sheets and pillows awaited him there, but a shower bath, a place to check his baggage, reading and writing rooms, music of pianos and Victrolas, companionship, and food, at a nominal cost.

It is a “regular” place all right, but a most extraordinary place as well. It is the largest Y.M.C.A. hut in the world and expert association men have studied huts in various camps to make its appointments a model for meeting the soldiers needs.

From now on Liberty Hut will be open 24 hours a day. From Midnight until 4 a.m. a secretary will patrol Union Station to invite any man in uniform who has no shelter in view to avail himself of the hut's hospitality.

For 35 cents the visitor receives the following:

  • Free checking of valuables and clothing.
  • Towel and soap and shower bath.
  • Baggage checked.
  • A Bed upon which the linen is changed daily.
  • Special rates at the Y.W.C.A. cafeteria adjoining.

If he hasn't the 35 cents the cost is nothing. No man in uniform will ever be turned away from the hut's doors.

Upon entering the soldier, sailor or marine is in the spacious lobby, in which there is a secretarial desk and three pool tables, a Victorola and a piano. To his right is a library, with a homelikeness that already has struck responsive chords in many a weary, dusty, train-tired man in uniform. There are shaded library lights, not the unbroken glare of electric bulbs, more musical instruments, books and magazines, curtained windows, more than half a hundred arm chairs, and inviting tables. …

From Tabernacle to Hut

We've seen this building before, from the outside - the YMCA's Service with Fighting Men: An Account of the Work of the Young Men's Christian Associations in the World War (1922) reports:

For service in embarkation centers on the Atlantic seaboard, the Bureau of Construction planned and erected special huts. The largest was at Hoboken and was known as the Hudson Hut.

Buildings of a similar nature were built in other cities near the embarkation camps. These huts were of the same type of construction as those in camps and cantonments, but had in addition a cafeteria where meals and light lunches could be served. Two of these huts were built in New York City and were known as the Eagle and Victory Huts. In Washington, D.C. the YMCA took over the Billy Sunday Tabernacle, and modified it to serve as a dormitory with auditorium, billiard room, reading and writing rooms attached. After being remodeled it was christened the Victory Hut.

Thousands of soldiers passed through nearby Union Station en route to embarkation points during the war.

Young Blue Eyes

Looks like a very young Frank Sinatra is watching the game, granted his eyes seem to be brown here...

Devil Dogs among the Doughboys

I count at least 3 Marines in the crowd. How do I know? Details, details, details are the keys to all Shorpy photos.


Not a single naked prince anywhere in sight!

Wartime Y

The flag looks like a very large version of a service flag, given to those who had children serving in the war.

Is it possible that the flag refers to those who were lost or serving in the war that had a type of membership in this club/liberty hall?

Lining Up

A less snarky explanation is that he is gauging the angle to the distant corner pocket nearest the camera. One of the corner pockets nearest to him appears to be blocked by the 8 ball. Tough shot to make. I don't think such an obvious goof would pass without some of the guys in the back giggling.

Four Stars

Anybody know the significance of the flag?

Waiting time

I wish the Army would fork out for a second table.

One amongst many

lady behind the desk.

The Hustler

Notice the young man is aiming his stick directly at the numbered ball, instead of the cue ball. Either he's trying to hustle someone, or it was simply for the photo op.

No, No, not that one

Line up on the cue ball, Dufus. It is the white one with no numbers.


My goodness, that looks cold. Several of the boys have their overcoats on. That hall ("liberty hut?") looks mighty drafty with that high ceiling.


He must be new at this game. Somebody show him where the cue ball is.

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