Upstate New York’s Only ‘Dummy Light’ Is Just 42 Miles From Utica
We hate waiting at traffic lights. But there's one in Central New York, halfway between Utica and Albany, that might be kind of fun to wait for, and it's easily reachable on a day trip.
The village of Canajoharie is home to one the remaining "dummy lights" still operating in the United States. And it's the only one in Upstate New York. It's located smack-dab in the intersection of Canajoharie's Church, Mohawk and Montgomery Streets, just a few minutes off New York State Thruway exit 29. The unique traffic signal on a pedestal was first installed in Canajoharie in 1926.
These so-called "dummy lights" replaced the practice of having police officers stand in the middle of intersections to direct traffic.
The "dummy light" in Canajoharie is one of just a handful of these traffic lights still in service. Two others in the Empire State are in Beacon, where the town sells souvenirs and jewelry honoring the traffic curio, and Croton-on-Hudson, where a controversy was brewing in 2019. According to CrotonUnited.org:
For 93 years the historic dummy light has stood at the heart of Croton-on-Hudson, a testament to that small core part of us which stands steadfast in a fast-changing world. It has taken the Bicycle-Pedestrian Committee and Croton Board of Trustees less than 2 years to put the dummy light in jeopardy of extinction.
The dummy light in Croton-on-Hudson survived that threat of extinction and remains standing today--along with ones in Beacon and Canajoharie. And there's also one in...Smackover, Arkansas.