August 16th- National Roller Coaster Day
Each year on August 16th, you will find people at amusement parks and theme parks across the country participating in National Roller Coaster Day.
J.G. Taylor received one of the earliest patents for an inclined railway in 1872. In 1878, Richard Knudsen received a patent for an inclined-plane railway. For years, history has believed the first roller coaster in America opened at Coney Island on June 16, 1884.
Thanks to the digital age and many archived news papers being digitized, and article was discovered reporting the anticipated excitement of J.G. Taylor’s elevated railway in 1872 at Rocky Point, Rhode Island. According to the Providence Evening Press from June 18, 1872, the reporter describes a ride of 400 feet where nine passengers are given a shove and gravity does the rest.
The oldest roller coasters are believed to have originated from the so-called “Russian Mountains.” Built in the 17th century, these were specially constructed hills of ice that were located near Saint Petersburg, Russia. The slides were made to a height of 70 to 80 feet consisting of a 50-degree drop and were reinforced by wooden supports.
A roller coaster consists of one or multiple cars on a track, similar to a specialized railroad system that rises in designed patterns, sometimes with one or more vertical loops.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Celebrate by visiting an amusement park near you and enjoying a roller coaster ride. If you cannot get to a roller coaster, make plans for your next roller coaster adventure! Use #RollerCoasterDay to post on social media.
National Roller Coaster Day has been celebrated since a 1986 proclamation by a national newspaper according to the website nationalrollercoasterday.com. However, we were unable to identify the newspaper or the reason for proclaiming the day on August 16. None of the patents issued either to Richard Knudsen, J.G. Taylor or any other inventor of their time were applied for or granted on that date. None of the roller coasters opened on that date. Whatever the reason, National Roller Coaster Day recognizes the amazing thrills the rides continue to provide as well as nostalgic feelings they stir up.