History Bytes: Roller Skating in Newport
The Atlantic House Hotel on Bellevue and Pelham, having been abandoned by the U.S. Naval Academy in 1865, was seeking new guests and activities for the summer. In July 1866 the hotel contracted with James. L. Plimpton of New York to provide rooms for the New York Skating Association to introduce roller skating to Newport. Known as “rinking,” roller skating developed in the parlors of European aristocracy and was imported to America by Plimpton in 1863. In 1879 the Ocean House Hotel constructed a new rink, now the site of the Newport Casino grandstand. It hosted roller skating polo and “circling” around the rink, enjoyed by “educated and refined patrons” and later opened to the general public.