The first roller coaster in America opened on June 16, 1884 at Coney Island, in Brooklyn, New York. Known as a switchback railway, it was the brainchild of LaMarcus Thompson. It traveled approximately six miles per hour and cost a nickel to ride.

Thompson based his design, at least in part, on the Mauch Chunk Switchback Railway which was a coal-mining train that had started carrying passengers as a thrill ride in 1827.

More Info: