The World’s Only Upside-Down Traffic Light

Even young children know that traffic lights have red, yellow and green lights going from top to bottom. However, there’s one stoplight in Syracuse, New York, that defies that logic. The world’s only upside-down traffic light is located in the Tipperary Hill neighborhood of Syracuse. As the name indicates, Tipperary Hill is a heavily Irish neighborhood located on a hill west of downtown Syracuse. The story of the upside-down traffic light dates back to the early 20th century when anti-British sentiment among the Irish immigrants in the neighborhood was at an all-time high. The first traffic light at the intersection of Tompkins Street and Milton Avenue — one of the major intersections in the neighborhood — was installed in the 1920s during the heyday of its Irish culture. Some of the sons and grandsons of the Irish immigrants couldn’t stand seeing the British “red” over the Irish “green,” so they broke the lights on the traffic signal with rocks. Every time the city would replace the lights, there would be another round of rock throwing. Finally, the city opted to put the lights in reverse order to keep the peace and make sure the traffic light remained functional. Since 1928, the traffic light at Tompkins Street and Milton Avenue has been green-above-red.