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