Posted by: Burlington Public Library (WA) | June 16, 2013

Today in history…

Thompsons_Switchback_Railway_1884On June 16, 1884, the country’s first roller coaster opened to the public on Coney Island in New York.  The 1884 coaster, named the Switchback Railway, may not look particularly terrifying to modern coaster fans. But according to the St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, Coney Island installed a second roller coaster called the “Flip-Flap”, which “used centrifugal force to keep riders in their seats.” Even those that didn’t ride the newer coaster were wowed by it: the St. James Encyclopedia reports that “an amazed public paid admission to watch” the Flip-Flap.

If you have a library card with us, feel free to browse these expert-written entries in the St. James Encyclopedia about roller coasters, amusement parks, and fairs:

-Jane

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