Today in Newport History: August 11, 1866 – The first roller skating rink opens to the public in the United States

Roller skates in the United States circa 1905

James Plimpton, inventor of the modern quad roller skating, and the New York Roller Skating Association (NYRSA) rented The Atlantic House hotel in Newport and turned the dining hall into an ice rink on August 11, 1866.

It was the first ice rink open to the public in the United States! Plimpton is recognized for the popularity of the sport, which then led to the sport of Roller Derby in 1935.

The Atlantic House Hotel, which no longer exists, was built in 1845 and is now the Elks Club at the corner of Bellevue Avenue and Pelham Street. During the Civil War, the hotel housed the American Naval Academy.

Sources: Photo of a man on roller skates via Wikipedia

Ryan Belmore is the owner and publisher of What’s Up Newp, LLC. Ryan has led What’s Up Newp since December 2012. Ryan is Vice Chairman of the Board of Fort Adams Trust and sits on the Board of Directors of Lucy’s Hearth. Ryan is also a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers. Send questions, tips, and story ideas to [email protected]

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