Coaster Steeples

Has anybody else ever wondered why they put steeples on some wooden coasters? Just a random thought, but honostly why would they do it?

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LostKause's avatar

Decoration? That's my guess. I don't see a functioning purpose for a steeple at the top of a lift hill, but they're pretty.


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Mamoosh's avatar

So people can pray before going down the first drop?

I believe the correct architectural term is cupola, not steeple. They have been present from the earliest days of roller coasters (i.e. Leap the Dips has one). They are simply decorative and usually meant to indicate the top of the first hill.

As I understand it, it had something to do with protecting the area where the lift chain ends and the car transitions to gravity powered operation.

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James Whitmore's avatar

Did the cupola/steeple also act as a lightning rod? Just a thought.

Last edited by James Whitmore,

ApolloAndy's avatar

If it did, it would've been much easier to just use a lightning rod (which most coasters have up there anyway).

Edit my completely uneducated guess would be to keep rain off something important up there.

Last edited by ApolloAndy,

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Jason Hammond's avatar

On a side note, it is my understanding that some coasters heights were advertised based on the height of the cupola rather than the track itself. It was an easy was to market a ride taller than it actually was.

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