Remember that Simpsons episode where Homer refers to a gay pride parade as “that mustache parade?” Well, back in 1896, Chicago had a police parade that featured more mustaches-per-row than any other parade!
Filmed by the Lumiere brothers (who invented a projector that many American inventors copied), Policemen’s Parade is thought to be the first movie ever filmed in Chicago. I haven’t been able to get many details about it – was it filmed at the Chicago Day parade in October, 1896? A few references I found to people filming in Chicago seem to indicate that it must have been earlier in the year than that (if it is, in fact, the first film footage of the city, which is certainly open to debate).
And where in the city is this? My fist thought was that they were marching past the Coliseum on Wabash, but I don’t think that’s quite right. Based on the pictures I’ve dug up, the closest match to the building in the background is Bridewell Prison, which was at 26th and California (where the court building is now), but I haven’t found a real smoking gun that would establish it. Anyone recognize this?