An Upside-Down Traffic Light Really Exists In Syracuse And Here’s Why
Sometimes I don't know whether to believe my co-workers or not when they start telling stories of things that may or may not be true.
Earlier this week, I was discussing with a co-worker about the upcoming St.Patrick's Parade in Downtown Binghamton, and how it's the largest and most fun parade in the Southern Tier.
His question was why does the parade occur so far ahead of St. Patrick's Day, and I explained one of the reasons is, that it allows the organizers to get bands and organizations from our of the are to be able to join in before their own cities have their St. Patrick's Day parade. Maybe that's the only reason.
My co-worker is from Syracuse and he mentioned that their parade is also a huge event. And while we continued our conversation about St. Patrick's Day, he started a conversation about an area in Syracuse, rich with Irish heritage, called Tipperary Hill. He mentioned something about the existence of an upside-down traffic light in that part of Syracuse. At first, I wasn't sure if he was pulling my leg, so I did some reseach.
I found an article on the Roadside America website that explained the story. There sure is a traffic light at the top of Tipperary Hill in Syracuse, NY at the intersection of Tompkins Street, Milton Avenue, and Burnet Park Drive.
So what's the big deal about a traffic light? Well, this one is upside down. Meaning, the red light is on the bottom and the green light is at the top. Well, technically it's not upside down, the green and red lights are just switched.
Why is this? The article explains that back in the early 1900s when traffic lights were being installed around the city, this Irish community of Syracuse was not amused with this particular traffic light with the red light on top and the green light on the bottom.
The red light used to be smashed by people throwing rocks at it on a regular basis because they didn't want the color red, which represents Britain, to be higher than the green light which is the color associated with the Irish.
Those who threw things at the light were referred to as 'The Stonethrowers.' Eventually, the city officials solved the problem by switching the lights with the red light signal on the bottom, and the green light signal on the top.
There's even a statue on the corner at the Tipperary Hill Heritage Memorial to honor the Stonethrowers.
And to add to the charm of this community in Syracuse, just down the street is Coleman's Authentic Irish Pub, complete with a Leprechaun door and phone booth. Looks like a great place to stop in for a brew or two after passing through the upside-down light.
via Roadside America