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LaMarcus Adna Thompson (March 8, 1848 - May 8, 1919) is best known for his early work developing rollercoasters, and is sometimes called the Father of Gravity. His Switchback Railway opened at Coney Island in 1884 and was the first rollercoaster built in the United States.
His Orient Scenic Railway ride opened in 1887 in Atlantic City. Not a thrill ride, with its maximum speed of 6 mph (10 km/h), it took riders through an elaborate themed environment of artificial scenery and dramatic lighting effects. He went on to built other similar Scenic Railway rides, which are often seen as anticipating present-day theme park rides such as Big Thunder Mountain.
Last updated: 05-16-2005 07:13:34