Tipperary Hill Area

Tipperary Hill, often referred to as Tipp Hill, is located on the Southwest side of
the City of Syracuse.  The community was settled primarily by Irish Immigrants,
especially from County Tipperary.

In the 1820s, when the Erie Canal first was built between Albany and Buffalo,
New York, the Irish were the chief laborers. Syracuse is roughly in the middle of
the route, the "hub" of the system. When the canal was finished, many of the
Irish workers settled west of Syracuse on a hill overlooking the canal. This area
became known as Tipperary Hill.  It makes up half of Syracuse's Far West Side
neighborhood.

When the city first started to install traffic signal lights in the 1920's, they put one
at a major intersection on Tipperary Hill, on the corner of Tompkins Street and
Milton Avenue. Some Irish youths, enraged that anyone would dare to put the
"British" red above the "Irish" green, broke the light. The city replaced it but 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 signal up inverted, and
it remains the only known traffic light in the US where the green light is on the
top.

In recent years some long time neighborhood residents of Irish ancestry and a
local business owners gathered resources and encouraged the city first to
demolish an old run-down commercial building. Then in 1997 to build a small
park, the Tipperary Hill Memorial Park, and erected a statue, the Tipperary Hill
Heritage Memorial. The memorial is dedicated the were brave sons of Ireland
who stood up to City Hall and won.  The park and statue are still there as is the
traffic 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.

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