A photograph of the Switchback Railway in Atlantic City that is often falsely attributed to Coney Island.
Coney Island's first roller coaster was L.A. Thompson's Switchback Railway. The Coaster was a wooden 600-foot-long gently undulating ride that was not exactly a thrill ride although it was pictured as such in engravings of the time. Photos of the ride are extremely rare. One of the photos commonly used to illustrate stories about Coney's first coaster was actually taken in Atlantic City, not Coney Island. The real Coney Island Switchback railway in all its humble glory can be seen in this 1880s view on YouTube:
This is the first article in a series that analyzes common myths about Coney Island.
— Charles Denson