History Behind Syracuse’s Upside-Down Traffic Light- Green On Top Light
While driving in the west end of Syracuse have you ever had to stop at corner of Tompkins Street and Milton Avenue? If so, did you notice the stop light is upside down? What is the history on the "Green On Top Light"?
The origin of Tipperary Hill's upside-down traffic light comes from Syracuse's proud Irish heritage. According to Gizmodo, a traffic light first came to the intersection Milton Avenue and Tompkins Street in 1925. At the time, it was a completely normal stop light.
But the local Irish youth wouldn't stand for British red sitting on top of Irish green. They repeatedly threw stones to break the lights, over and over again. Supposedly, evil leprechauns were even blamed for some of the mischief. Eventually, the city's council relented, and an upside-down traffic light has directed cars at Tipperary Hill ever since."
Syracuse City documents didn't turn up any of that story proving it could be true. However, The Syracuse Post-Standard did find widows of men who claimed to be those stone-throwing Irish youth back in the 1920s. Whether the story is true or not, this stoplight has become part of Central New York history, and of course folklore.