Tipperary Hill

From Academic Kids

The "Green-on-Top" or "Red-on-Bottom" Traffic Light
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The "Green-on-Top" or "Red-on-Bottom" Traffic Light

Tipperary Hill, sometimes known as Tipp Hill, is an area in the city of Syracuse, New York largely settled by immigrants from Ireland, a number it is assumed, from County Tipperary.

In the 1820s, when the Erie Canal first was built from Albany, New York to Buffalo, New York, the Irish were the chief laborers. Syracuse is about the middle of the route, the "hub" of the system. When the canal was finished many of the Irish settled west of Syracuse on a hill overlooking the canal. This area became known as Tipperary Hill.

When the city first started to install traffic signal lights in the 1920s they put one at a major intersection on Tipperary Hill, on the corner of Tompkins Street and Milton Avenue. Some Irish youths, incensed that anyone would dare to put the "British" red above green, broke the light. The city replaced it. The Irish broke the replacement. After a few rounds of this the city decided that if they wanted a light at that intersection, they had better put the green on top, so they did.

In recent years some long time neighborhood residents of Irish ancestry and a local business owner (Coleman's) gathered resources and encouraged the city first to demolish a old run-down commercial building and then to built a small park, the Tipperary Hill Memorial Park, and erected a statue, the Tipperary Hill Heritage Memorial. The memorial is dedicated to those who, in their opinions, were brave sons of Ireland who had stood up to City Hall and won. The statue was created by Dexter Benedict. The park and statue are still there, and so is the light. On the eve of every Saint Patrick's Day, someone goes out and paints the yellow strip in the center of the road green in time for the Saint Patrick's Day parade.

Although most people in Syracuse know about the Tipp Hill neighborhood there is little agreement as to the exact boundries of the neighborhood. Before 1886, the entire far west side of what is now Syracuse from Burnet Park north to Milton Avenue in Solvay was known as the Village of Geddes. When the village of Geddes joined the city, there were only two churches in the neighborhood: St. Patrick's Church and The Geddes Methodist Church. Many Irish immigrants were attracted to the neighborhood nearest to St. Patrick's Church and area factories.

On March 15, 2005, Irish prime minister Bertie Ahern visited Tipperary Hill, where he had his photo taken by the Green-on-Top traffic light, and ate at Coleman's Irish Pub. His comment on the traffic light:

"What they were up to in those days were kept for the future. I'm not sure I know how legal it was...but anyway...ha ha ha."

External links

Template:Syracuse Neighborhoods

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