Has anybody else ever wondered why they put steeples on some wooden coasters? Just a random thought, but honostly why would they do it?
'Somewhere between Millennium and Dragster.
-First ride of the season, Millennium Force
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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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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Did the cupola/steeple also act as a lightning rod? Just a thought.
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.
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Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."
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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