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Tipperary Hill Heritage Memorial



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Tipperary Hill Heritage Memorial

City of Syracuse



The Tipperary Hill Heritage Memorial

For early citizens who won the battle of the "Green over Red" traffic light

Unveiled  1997

Location  43°02′48″N 76°11′08″W
in Syracuse, New York



The Tipperary Hill Heritage Memorial, dedicated in 1997, [1] is located on Tipperary Hill in Syracuse, New York. The memorial was erected in honor of early citizens who, in the opinion of local residents, were brave sons of Ireland who stood up to City Hall and won the battle of the "Green over Red" traffic light. The memorial features bronze, life-size figures of a 1930s Irish immigrant family and was sculpted by Dexter Benedict of Penn Yan, New York. The father is pointing out the

traffic light to his wife, daughter and son [1] who has a

sling shot in his back pocket, hinting that he might know

a little bit of the history of the light. [2]



The memorial is located in Tipperary Hill Memorial Park which was originally the site of a commercial building that held a prominent position on the northeast corner of Milton Avenue and Tompkins Street and was later demolished. It is the newest city park in Syracuse. [1]





The Tipperary Hill Heritage Memorial - Stone throwers monument

See also: Tipperary Hill

When the city first installed traffic signals in 1925, they placed one at a major

intersection on Tipperary Hill, in the center of the neighborhood business district,

located on the corner of Tompkins Street and Milton Avenue. [3]


Stone Throwers

The Stone Throwers were several youths from the neighborhood who were among some of the original residents who rallied against the addition of the new traffic light on Tipperary

Hill because it sported the British "red" prominently placed over the Irish "green". Due to strong national rivalries, the traditional "red-over-green" lights were interpreted as symbols of England over Ireland and offended the youths of the close-knit Irish neighborhood. [4]



The youths, aged 11 to 17, included John "Jacko" Behan (born 1909), Richard "Richie" Britt (born 1908),

James M. "Duke" Coffey (born 1910), Kenneth "Kenny" Davis (born 1914), George Dorsey, Gerald "Mikis"

Murphy (born 1914), Francis "Stubbs" Shortt (born 1908), and Eugene Thompson (1911-2001). [4]

Patrick "Packy" Corbett (born 1909), former Onondaga County Sheriff, [5] was

named honorary member of the group after growing up on Tipp Hill, however,

would not acknowledge vandalizing the traffic light. [4]

By 1925, the city was divided into north,east,

west, and south side ethnic neighborhoods.

According to one of the Stone Throwers,

"If you were Irish, you stayed in the West end." [4]



The youths gathered up stones which they called "Irish confetti" and "took aim

at the red lenses, managing to put the signal out of commission," an act they

performed many times. Eventually, neighborhood leaders, led by Tipp Hill

alderman, John J. "Huckle" Ryan and a number of local businessmen persuaded

the city fathers to install a green-over-red traffic signal, the only one of its kind

in the U.S and it has been that way ever since. [4]



Establishment of the Memorial

In 1997, local residents of Irish ancestry and business owners, including Peter Coleman,

gathered resources and encouraged the city to demolish an old commercial building,

to build a small park and erect the Tipperary Hill Heritage Memorial. [5]



In a fund raising effort, Coleman, a saloon-keeper for over 50 years and owner of Coleman's Authentic Irish Pub at 100 South Lowell Avenue, also sold commemorative bricks engraved with the names of loved ones for $75 each which were set around the base of the statue.

There were a total of 450 installed. [6]



Jerry Wilson, a local jewelry store owner, [7] was also instrumental in the

establishment of the memorial park. On March 17, 1995 he helped Coleman

raise $6,000 for the statue and the two planned a fund raiser

"among pubs on The Hill." [8]


This Picture was taken at

Coleman's Authentic Irish Pub - an Establishment with the finest Irish Ambience in the area, the best Shepard's Pie, and Home, possibly, to the only Leprechaun Door in the World!

Coleman's Irish Pub -

located at 100 S. Lowell Ave., Syracuse, NY 13204

Phone: (315)-476-1933. 

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