Roller coasters became popular in amusement parks soon after their creation in the late 1800s. This guide provides access to materials related to “Roller Coasters” in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.
Chronicling America is a searchable digital collection of historic newspaper pages from 1789-1963 sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.
Included in the website is the Directory of US Newspapers in American Libraries, a searchable index to newspapers published in the United States since 1690, which helps researchers identify what titles exist for a specific place and time, and how to access them.
With breathtaking drops and “spine curling” thrills, early roller coasters delight the most daring Americans in parks across the country. As more people experienced the adventure and as the mechanics improved, roller coasters became essential rides and amusement parks began competing for the biggest and most intricate rides. Read more about it!
The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.
The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.
Early railway rides lead to the creation of America’s first roller coasters.
The invention of the scenic railway and larger, more complex rides makes the roller coaster a must-have ride in amusement parks.