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News Display: First Roller Coaster Opens in America

Did you know that on June 16, 1884 the first roller coaster in America opened n Coney Island, Brooklyn? For just a nickel you could ride for 600 feet at six miles per hour, watching the waves hit the shore.

Invented by LaMarcus Thompson, the "switchback railway" was an immediate success and led to further innovations in American amusement parks. Thompson, also known as "The Father of Gravity", trained a generation of roller coaster designers -- among them, John Miller, who created the Coney Island Thunderbolt, a wooden roller coaster which operated from 1925 until 1982 (now being rebuilt beside the Cyclone, an octogenarian "scream machine" that is also famous throughout the world).

Come see this interesting display of stories which follows the history of the roller coaster and its centrality to theme parks in American culture.

The Everett Cafe features educational news displays on a wide range of topics, in addition to daily postings of headlines from around the world.

Individuals with disabilities are invited to request reasonable accommodations including, but not limited to sign language interpretation, Braille or large print materials, and a campus map of accessible features. Address these requests to the Office of Access and Services for Individuals with Disabilities at (212) 678-3689,, or Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services at (212) 678-3853 V/TTY,



  • Jennifer Govan
  • 212-678-3022
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