Today in history: First roller coaster in America opens

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Today in history: First roller coaster in America opens
The "Switchback Railway" - America's 1st roller coaster. Built in Coney Island in 1884. Admission: 5¢. http://t.co/OioA76PMj3
People outside the entrance to Luna Park on Coney Island, New York. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
A female lifeguard at Steeplechase park, Coney Island stands with a whistle between her lips as she points to a transgressor in the pool below. In the background is a fairground big-wheel. (Photo by Helmut Kretz/Getty Images)
Two passengers on the Parachute Jump ride see throngs of people on the boardwalk and beach at the Coney Island Amusement Park in Brooklyn, New York, July 1, 1957. The Atlantic Ocean is also visible as they ride to the top of the tower. (AP Photo)
Models Karen Kirsten, left and, Julie Welsh test the thunderbolt roller coaster at New York's Coney Island' March 19, 1966. Sitting behind the two girls is operator Arthur Kramer who has been running that ride for the past 40 years and will be running it again when the new season opens on April 3. (AP Photo)
July 1966: Sun seekers on the beach at Coney Island. (Photo by Harry Benson/Express/Getty Images)
Steeplechase Park at Coney Island in Brooklyn, N.Y., is shown on opening day for the season on May 31, 1942. The park is using 2 per cent of its normal lighting and closes at nighttime to observe army orders for a dim out during World War II. (AP Photo)
Sweden's Prince William, eats a hotdog while visiting Coney Island, New York, Oct. 17, 1927. (AP Photo)
Ray DeMott, atop pole foreground, checks the guide ropes for the parachute jump at Steeplechase Park, Coney Island, New York. The fun arena opens officially on May 21, 1949, although a part of it has been opened weekends since February 5. (AP Photo/Robert Kradin)
Loaded to capacity, Coney Island's Cyclone roller coaster starts a downhill plunge, April 7, 1963 in New York City. It is the amusement park's opening day of the 1963 season. Note carefree no-hands style of boys in the front seat of the speeding three-car conveyance. (AP Photo)
This aerial view shows the huge crowd that fills the water and beach at Coney Island in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Independence Day, July 4, 1937. In the background beyond the boardwalk at right is the Tornado roller coaster. (AP Photo)
The Ferris wheel and Parachute Jump at Steeplechase Park at Coney Island in Brooklyn, N.Y., are shown on opening day, May 31, 1942. The park is using 2 per cent of its normal lighting and closes at nighttime to observe army orders for a dim-out during World War II. (AP Photo)
People sunbathe on the beach and walk along the boardwalk at Coney Island in Brooklyn, N.Y., May 27, 1945. (AP Photo)
A young couple enjoys a ride around the building on the famous Steeplechase horse ride in New York on May 26, 1943. (AP Photo)
To young, and older, fun-seekers, the rides in amusement parks are a matter of pleasure. To Alexander R. McIntyre of New York they are a job. He tests the rides at Coney Island, New York before the season opens to make sure they're safe, and makes surprise inspections all season. He works seven days a week in summer, getting time off in winter, when he is an elevator inspector. In both jobs he works for the Department of Housing and Building of New York City. Here "Mac", left, and Freddy Grams of the Wonder Wheel at Coney Island ride on top of one of the cars to check the working of the ride on May 28, 1952. (AP Photo/Robert Kradin)
The spinning rides Gyro-Globe, left, and the Airplane Spin are shown after dark at Coney Island in Brooklyn, N.Y., June 30, 1953. (AP Photo)
The Coney Island Parachute Jump looms over the beach in the Brooklyn borough of New York, July 4, 1952. (AP Photo)
A group of the Original Grandma’s Night Out Club members getting their kicks at New York’s Steeplechase Park on the ride Silver Streak on August 13, 1954. (AP Photo/Carl Nesensohn)
Nathan's Famous hot dogs are cooked on the grill as customers line up at Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York, on Sept. 10, 1958. (AP Photo)
This view from the Parachute Jump at Steeplechase Park shows crowds on the beach, the boardwalk and amusement area at Coney Island in New York on July 1, 1962. 1,500,000 square feet of new beach was added on during the 1961-1962 winter. (AP Photo)
Passengers hold on tight as Coney Island's Cyclone roller coaster heads into a turns in New York, June 26, 1977. It was the 50th anniversary of the opening of the penny-a-second coaster's career, and many old friends turned out for a kind of birthday party full of reminiscences. (AP Photo/Dan Grossi)
Thousands of bathers are seen at the beach in Coney Island in the Brooklyn borough of New York, July 2, 1991. Astroland Amusement Park is seen in the background with the Wonder Wheel at left, and the Cyclone roller coaster at right. (AP Photo/Michael Alexander)
Kristine Williams and John Morrisroe, both of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, wave as they approaches the first drop on the world famous Cyclone roller coaster in New York's Coney Island on opening day, April 9, 1995. The city-owned amusement ride, a national landmark since 1991, has operated since it first opened in 1927. (AP Photo/Paul Hurschmann)
Cars climb to the first drop of the Cyclone roller-coaster at New York's Coney Island in Brooklyn, Sunday, June 23, 2002. The Cyclone, perhaps the world's best-known roller-coaster, marked its 75th anniversary on Wednesday, June 26, 2002. The Coney Island landmark first opened to thrill seekers on June 26, 1927, and still offers a 60 mph ride on 1.6 miles of track, including 12 drops. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)
Riders shoot down from the highest drop on the Cyclone roller-coaster at New York's Coney Island in Brooklyn, Sunday, June 23, 2002. The Cyclone, perhaps the world's best-known roller-coaster, marked its 75th anniversary on Wednesday, June 26, 2002. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)
People enjoy the hot weather on the beach at Coney Island in New York, Tuesday, June 26, 2007. Temperatures reached into the low 90's today; the heat is expected to continue through Wednesday. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Pedestrians pass the Luna Park area of the Coney Island boardwalk that is closed to foot traffic due to concerns about the 275-foot-tall Astrotower looming in the distance, Thursday, July 4, 2013, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. The aging, swaying observation tower appeared poised to scuttle the summer Fourth of July festivities at the park, putting visitors' plans and merchants' hopes on a roller coaster ride of their own, although park's managers hope amusements could reopen after the uppermost portions are removed by afternoon Thursday. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
FILE - In this April 1, 2007 file photo, Astroland visitors enjoy a spin on the Cyclone roller coaster on opening day of the amusement park in the Coney Island section of the Brooklyn borough of New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
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Today in 1884, the first roller coaster in America opens at Coney Island, in Brooklyn, New York, revolutionizing the history of the American amusement park.

The first roller coaster was designed by American inventor Lamarcus Adna Thompson, who would later be known as the "father of gravity." Thompson was inspired by a trip to the hills in eastern Pennsylvania, where a railroad line that was originally used to transport coal had been converted into a tourist attraction.

The first roller coaster traveled at approximately six miles per hour and cost a nickel to ride.

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