America's highways are littered with loose ends. In Houston, relics of an incomplete inner city project loom on the east and west ends with nothing in-between. In Portland, ramps built to merge with the Mt. Hood Freeway simply drop off into an overgrown field.
Roller coasters are the workhorse of the modern theme park, but their rise to popularity has been long and strange.
Its precursor could be found outside of St. Petersburg in the 1800s. Massive ice slides called Russian Mountains were reinforced with wood, plunging up to seventy feet at sharp angles.
We can still see this origin in the words for “rollercoaster” in romance languages like Spanish— La Montaña Rusa—and other variations in French, Italian and Portuguese. Strangely, the Russian term literally translates as “American Mountains.”
The rumors began circulating in 2001 about something called The Ginger Project, or simply “It.” Talk of changing the world, of reorganizing cities, of "Reinventing the Wheel"—as Time Magazine called it in one article title—all of these hopes were in the air.