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The 5 Oldest Coasters

March 25, 2012

Roller coasters have been around for over 100 years. The 1920s were the Golden Ages of roller coasters. Unfortunately most parks had to close during the Great Depression and World War II. A few parks survived though and their coasters survive to this day. Since steel coasters weren’t invented until 1959, all of these coasters are wooden.

5. Jack Rabbit at Seabreeze Park – 1920

Jack Rabbit is an out-and-back coaster. It was almost destroyed by a fire in 1923.

4. Wild One at Six Flags America – 1917

Wild One was originally built at Paragon Park in Massachusetts. It was moved to Six Flags America in 1986.

3. Rutschebanen at Tivoli Gardens – 1914

Originally built for a traveling fair, Rutschebanen was moved to Tivoli Gardens in 1914. The coaster rides through an artificial mountain and has a brakeman to slow the trains if they get going too fast.

2. Scenic Railway at Luna Park – 1912

Celebrating its 100th birthday this year, Scenic Railway is the oldest continuously operating coaster in the world.

The Scenic Railway at Luna Park, Melbourne, is...

1. Leap the Dips at Lakemont Park – 1902

The oldest coaster in the world, Leap the dips is one of the few side friction coasters remaining today. This means that there are no large drops or hills. Instead the layout is a double figure-8, gradually sloping down to the ground. It was closed in 1976 but was saved from demolition and reopened in 1999.

It’s interesting to see how different coasters were 100 years ago.

What do you think? Please comment. Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

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5 Comments
  1. Matt P permalink

    Cool list. Thunderhawk at dorneypark was built in 1923. Of course, it was changed to a figure eight pattern in 1930. It is the oldest coaster that I have ever ridden. Those are the few recognitions I can give it. It beats the crap out of me every time I ride it!

    • I think it is also the oldest coaster I’ve ever ridden. I don’t really remember it though. This summer I should be riding Wild One which is a bit older.

  2. Interesting list! I knew Leap the Dips, but not all of the others. You need to note that the Luna Park is the one in Melbourne Australia. Too bad we don’t have a world’s oldest coaster in Coney Island, where the ride was invented!

  3. I’ve ridden on a couple from 1936: Canobie Lake’s Yankee Cannonball, which is still going strong, and the original Elitch Gardens’ Wildcat, which is sadly no longer extant. Both are Herbert Schmeck PTC out-and-back coasters.

    The Yankee Cannonball was actually relocated from Lakewood Park in Waterbury, Connecticut, one of the many killed by the Depression, where it opened in 1930. But the pictures I’ve seen of its previous incarnation suggest that it was a significantly different coaster there, a straight out-and-back with fewer big hills and a painful-looking transition at the bottom of the first drop. The ACE website suggests that it might have been the first coaster ever to be relocated, which would be interesting if true.

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