150 Years of Rink Skating in the US

Atlantic House Hotel

Many roller skaters know about James Plimpton. He patented the forerunner of the modern roller skate in 1863. Plimpton’s roller skates were safer and easier to use than the existing versions, his “rocker skates” allowed people to steer just by leaning to the left or the right. But he also founded the NYRSA (New York Roller Skating Association) to promote the sport. His business concept was to lease out skates, not selling. So NYRSA leased the fashionable resort hotel, the Atlantic House, in Newport, Rhode Island, and converted the dining room into a skating area. At August 11, 1866, 150 years ago, this first roller skating rink in the US open to the public.
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