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What Is The Intriguing, Unusual Story Behind Tipperary Hill And Infamous Traffic Light

Updated on June 16, 2016
Tipp Hill in Syracuse, New York. The heartwarming inspiring story about when the Irish settled, what is the immigrant father, mother and children looking at? What is the father pointing at?
Tipp Hill in Syracuse, New York. The heartwarming inspiring story about when the Irish settled, what is the immigrant father, mother and children looking at? What is the father pointing at? | Source
Your eyes are not playing tricks on you. Yes, this extremely unique traffic light has a long significant history of how it came about, Who were the stone throwers, what was their story?
Your eyes are not playing tricks on you. Yes, this extremely unique traffic light has a long significant history of how it came about, Who were the stone throwers, what was their story? | Source

A very odd situation is quite apparent and the story behind it. For those who life in the New York State as they drive the streets in the Tipperary Hill neighborhood see a very unusual street light, there is only one in the country and it is there. It was the Irish settlers, in most cases who constructed the Erie Canal. After that the immigrants landed in the area of the city known as Tipperary Hill in Syracuse, NY. But what it appears to be what the Irish are most noted for in the area are the people called the stone throwers. Also, the infamous traffic light, a sight that is normally unseen, this particularly light, is transposed. It has become famous for what is named the green above red.

Tipperary Hill is a neighborhood that takes up 50 percent of the great distance West side community in Syracuse where the Irish emigrants resided. The Irish at the time, were the primary workingman on the Erie Canal’s establishment which began at Albany, NY and reached to Buffalo and Syracuse. The town grew into the center point of this undertaking. Then once the Erie Canal was completed, a majority of the Irish population decided to remain there.

In the year 1860, the part of far East West side South side, was initially was called Tipperary Hill. The reason for the neighborhood for the name to become what it was, since a sizeable amount of the families travailed at the prospering regional steel mills, the County Tipperary. So what transpired next was the first traffic light was positioned in Tipp Hill. And today, for obvious reasons it is still a famous local visitor attraction. Soon after the light was assembled, some mischievous Irish younger people decided to provoke change. These youth were the name of stone throwers.

The justification for their actions, was that it was their way of expressing disapproval of the red light on top. They looked at it as the red represented the British. The youths were making a strong point of yearning that the green light should be above the red. So they began to rebel for their beliefs. They stones that they threw to shatter the glass of the traffic light was known as Irish confetti for the purpose of breaking the red bulb.

The kids who began this mission were in the age group between 11 to 17 years of age. It was no secret and everyone knew their names. And one interesting point was that one of that a prior Onondaga county sheriff was believed to be one of those kids who participated in throwing the stones. Patrick Corbett was his name. But he would never admit to his collaboration. Afterwards it was decided and announced by the alderman, Mr. Ryan, voiced a plea to have the traffic signal light be changed and hung with the green bulb over the red. Since the smashing of the traffic light continued, to come to a reasonable solution, it was approved. This way the young rebel rousers were won over.

Still and all, this became a dilemma. But have the transposed red and green lights, the drivers to the area some that were color blind, it was extremely perplexing. So again, it was tried to install the traditional traffic light. Once again, the same sort of behavior with the kids shattering the bulb glass occurred over and over again. So in the end, the representatives of the Tipp Hill association called a meeting. On St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th, 1928, one of the appointed individual met with the locals of Tipp Hill. They strongly stressed to him, that the traffic light would constantly be destroyed. The city administrators backed down. One more time, the green light was placed over the red light. And so the only one of its kind unique traffic light was brought into existence, and to this day proudly remains. And there has never been another incident.

By clearly of surveying a list of the neighborhood businesses that are operating in the area, that the Irish society is still flourishing today at Tipp Hill, with all Irish names, such as Hennigan and Callahan. To realize the Irish legacy in the group of pride Irish people, in 1997 a district organized group joined together to persuade to erect a small public park. The aspiration of the park was to remember the significance and the undying determination of fighting for their culture. They had the name chosen, the Tipperary Hill Memorial Park. They also wanted to erect a lasting statuette, of four immigrants of the community, a family in recognition of the infamous stone throwers. It would be located on the same neighborhood corner at the green above red light traffic light.

The monument is devoted to those very passionate Irish men who stood a stand against the City Hall establishment and won after persistently aiming towards their victory relentless struggle. The forever memorial highlights, a life sized remarkable bronze formed human bodies of an Irish immigrant family and was modeled by Dexter Benedict. The father is seen looking and pointing out the rare famous traffic light. He is making them aware and describing the events of that momentous time. The people are dressed in 1930’s attire down to every meticulous detail. And as you look closer you will notice what the father is carrying in his back pocket. It is a sling shot symbolizing that he was enlightened with the tremendous heartwarming story and history of the infamous traffic light.

The tremendous story about the persistence of the younger proud Irish Immigrants that came to this country and their struggle taking on City Hall and winning their fight. The only infamous traffic light in the world. The story is amazing.
The tremendous story about the persistence of the younger proud Irish Immigrants that came to this country and their struggle taking on City Hall and winning their fight. The only infamous traffic light in the world. The story is amazing. | Source
Their stories about coming to this country, the proud community in Tipp Hill in Syracuse, New York. What did several community youths accomplish that had never been done before. History was made and today the light still remains. The lasting memorial
Their stories about coming to this country, the proud community in Tipp Hill in Syracuse, New York. What did several community youths accomplish that had never been done before. History was made and today the light still remains. The lasting memorial | Source
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    • Linda Robinson60 profile image
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      Linda Robinson 20 months ago from Cicero, New York

      Thank you so much Val, always welcome your uplifting and encouraging comments. They are so appreciated. Take care of yourself. Talk to you again. Enjoy your day, and happy hubbing. :)

    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 21 months ago from Canada

      It's quite a story, Linda. It shows what kind of mentality was making the history happen - not those passive onlookers but people with determination and a metal in their nature that produced a difference. Now we know such folks actually existed in Tipperary Hills.

    • Linda Robinson60 profile image
      Author

      Linda Robinson 21 months ago from Cicero, New York

      Good Morning Jodah and thanks so much for commenting and so glad you enjoyed the read. Yes, I love the story and the determination and persistence of the Irish community to fight and do something that has never been done before. Take care. Always a pleasure hearing from you. Talk to you again. Linda

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 21 months ago from Queensland Australia

      This was a very interesting read, Linda. At first, I looked at the photo of the traffic lights and couldn't work out what was wrong. When you explained about the green light being on top, I realised.. duh!

      Thanks for sharing about Tipperary Hill.