The World's First Suspended Coaster: Way Older Than You Think
Most amusement park enthusiasts point toward the original Bat at King's Island as the world's first, permanent, suspended roller coaster. And in the modern era, this is true, as it ran from 1981-1983.
But the world's first suspended roller coaster was actually built roughly 80 years before The Bat, at the Long Beach Pike in Long Beach, CA. Known as Bisby's Spiral Airship, it was built in 1902.
|Bisby's Spiral Airship. Image: Historical Society of Long Beach
The ride consisted of square gondolas that were lifted to the top of a monorail track, then coasted down a very long helix. The gondolas could swing freely, and centrifugal forces would make the cars swing outward before returning to the station.
Little is known about the ride's demise, but it was removed around 1915.
Long Beach Pike was renamed Nu Pike in 1949, and later became Queen's Park in 1971 before closing in 1979. In 2003, the area was redeveloped as The Pike at Rainbow Harbor, a shopping mall and entertainment venue.