1895 Conley 

Kevin Conley Annals of Amusement: How High Can You Go?The New Yorker, 30 August 2004, pp. 48-55. 2004a, 1920s, 1895, 1884, 1827

     "There is general agreement that the country's first roller coaster was the Switch Back Railway; the debate concerns which one. The Mauch Chunk-Summit Hill and Switch Back Railway, an eighteen-mile gravity railroad, was built in 1827 to carry coal in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley. Forty-five years later, when the big rail carriers rendered it obsolete, Josiah White turned the Switch Back into a thrill ride suitable for the Victorian era: you could bring a picnic. The other Switch Back Railway, which covered a gentle six-hundred-foot circuit of bunny hills at a speed of six m.p.h., was built in 1884, and was a tourist attraction from the start. At a nickel a ride, it earned back its fifteeen-hundred-dollar construction costs in three days. Its inventor, LaMarcus Thompson, became the first coaster entrepreneur, building fifty variations on his creation in the next four years.

     "Eleven years later and a few blocks away, Paul Boynton opened Sea Lion Park, the first enclosed amusement park . . . profligate use of incandescent lights made Coney Island visible from thirty miles out to sea. . . . the Flip Flap, the country's first looping coaster, which debuted . . . in 1895. . . .

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 Kelyn Roberts 2017