The earliest known devices resembling roller coasters were ice-covered wooden slides constructed in Russia in the 1400's. The first roller coaster was made in the 1800's in Russia; it was a large wooden slide that people rode down on ice. People could not ride the roller coaster in the summer because the large blocks of ice would melt quickly. They would have to climb a large flight of stairs to get to the top.
Other early roller coasters would roll down courses that were set down the side of a mountain, on small wheels attached to the bottom of the car. These roller coasters were also built in the late 1800's.
One of the first roller coaster built in the U.S. slid down the side of a mountain on moving coals car. This roller coaster was built in Pennsylvania in the late 1840's.
The first American roller coaster used for entertainment was built at Coney Island in New York City in 1884. By the 1920's, there were about 2,000 roller coasters in North America. Today, there are about 175 large, permanent roller coasters in the United States, some with reported speeds of about 70 miles (110 kilometers) per hour.
You are visitor number