President Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, was the first to be captured on film while in office. On May 12, 1903, while in San Francisco, Teddy was filmed during different parts of a parade held in his honor.
A part of the parade was for him to review the city’s school children as the video above shows. An estimated 40,000 children gathered on both sides of Van Ness Avenue, west of the downtown area. Each school was assigned a specific block and each student waved a flag. The presidential carriage kept to the right, where the children were, so that they could get a good view of the President.
The parade was not just for the children, adults also filled the opposite sides of the streets and down other streets the parade followed. The video above was taken a little after 3:00pm (after the first video) when the extensive military portion of the parade had already passed. The parade covered quite a few streets. According to the Library of Congress: “The camera view is from the north side of Market Street, just east of Grant Avenue. After leaving the Southern Pacific train station at Third and Townsend streets, the parade proceeded up Third Street and wound through downtown San Francisco before continuing up Market Street to a ceremony at the Native Sons Hall on Mason Street.”
In the clips, Roosevelt is shown riding in the carriage. An entourage of secret service men walk besides the presidential carriage – in increased numbers as previous presidents had. This was because of the assassination of Roosevelt’s predecessor, President William McKinley, in September 1901. Another important thing to note is that the presidential carriage was also escorted by members of the Ninth U.S. Cavalry Regiment. This was quite unusual at the time. Why? The Ninth U.S. Cavalry Regiment was an all-black company.