After the Erie Canal was finished, many Irish people settled west of Syracuse on a hill overlooking the canal. This area became known as Tipperary Hill. When the city first installed traffic signal lights in 1925, they placed one at a major intersection in the main business district on Tipperary Hill, at the corner of Tompkins Street and Milton Avenue. Local Irish youths, incensed that the “British" red appeared above the "Irish" green, threw stones at the signal and broke the red light. John "Huckle" Ryan, then alderman of the Tipperary Hill section, requested that the traffic signal be hung with the green above the red in deference to the Irish residents. This was done, but soon New York State stepped in, and city officials reversed the colors.
The red lights were again broken regularly. Members of a group called Tipperary Hill Protective Association addressed the town rulers. On March 17, 1928, Commissioner Bradley met with Tipp Hill residents, who told him that the light would continue to be vandalized. The city leaders relented, and green was again above the red light, where it remains. It is said to be the only traffic light in the U.S. where the green light is on top. At the site is a statue commemorating the StoneThrowers.