Guest Author - Vance Rowe
Well folks, it is that time of the year again. Summer is here and it is time to go and feel the wind in your face and for your stomach to drop as you climb aboard your favorite roller coaster. Today is June 16, 2010 and it was this day in history in 1884 that the very first roller coaster opened in an amusement park and it was in Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York.
However, the very first roller coaster to open to the public was in Pennsylvania in 1873. It was originally opened in 1872 as a way to get coal down the mountains and is called the Mauch Chunk Switchback Railway.
Roller coasters certainly have come a long way since then and have all kinds of twists and turns and even go upside down. Right now the world’s fastest rollercoaster is located in Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey and is called the Kingda – Ka. It boasts a speed of 128 miles per hour and has a 456-foot top hat tower which also makes it the tallest coaster in the world. However, there is one that is supposed to open in Abu Dhabi in October 2010 that will have a speed of 149 miles per hour and is called the Formula Rossa and will be at Ferrari World.
In my opinion, those are just overkill. Would I ride them if given the opportunity? Of course, I would. What roller coaster loving person wouldn’t want to ride them at least once? Heck in a few more years, you may have to take out a life insurance policy just to board one of these monsters.
The very first amusement park roller coaster was the brain child of a man named LaMarcus Thompson and was known as a switchback railway and went just at the blinding speed of six miles per hour. It cost a nickel to ride it and it made Thompson hundreds of dollars a day. It became a very popular ride and in the beginning of the twentieth century, there were hundreds of roller coasters all over the country. Today there are well over two thousand of these rides all over the world.
Yes, gone are the days of climbing into the car of that big wooden roller coaster, hearing the “chink…chink…chink” of the chain that pulled the train of cars up the steep incline and then have people scream as their stomachs climbed up in their throat for the steep decline on the other side and the near whiplash slinging around corners. There are some amusement parks that still have the old wooden coasters but are very few and far between today.