Utica/Rome Signal Meet 2020 Part 2 – Utica

In early August I had some fellow signal enthusiasts up for a visit and we cruised around town staring up in the sky looking at traffic lights. This is part 2 of what we saw in Utica, New York. There is a lot of cool signals still around. They’re cool if you’re a fan of them like me.

Crouse hinds traffic signal Genesee Street Utica NY
Genesee Street & Seward Ave
Genesee Street and Seward Ave with a snow emergency light
Genesee Street & Seward Ave

Genesee Street at Seward Ave. These signals have been here forever, well at least forever in my memory. Probably installed in the early 1960’s and my memories go back from probably the late 1960’s. More Crouse Hinds signals. Thats pretty much what Utica used exclusively. Pretty much nothing has been done with this intersection except a new electronic controller in 2017 replacing what was probably the original one and some LEDs replacing all the glass lenses and reflectors. They are beat up, old, showing the ravages of time, but still doing their job.

There is also a Utica Snow Emergency light here too. The remaining ones haven’t worked in probably 20 years. More on those in a bit.

Crouse hinds traffic signal Genesee Street Utica NY
Genesee Street & Woodlawn Ave

This is another old Utica setup. This same setup with a fixed 4 way and 2 single deco signals was replicated around 20 times at different intersections in Utica. I can count at least 10 on Genesee Street alone.

Another that has been here forever. I thought maybe it would be lost forever in 2018 when it was set to flash for quite a while. I assume the old mechanical controller had finally given up running after 50+ years and the intersection was coming down. There was also a fire station on Woodlawn Ave and that closed many years ago also. Luckily a new electronic controller was installed in late 2018 and this intersection lives on as it pretty much always has, except for the LEDs in the signals.

Sunset Ave and Seward Ave

This beautiful Crouse Hinds Art Deco signal is still here. I check every once in a while to see if it is. Thankfully every time I come here it is. It’s a classic old signal. A little beat up. A couple new yellow visors on it. I figure when the yellow lenses were replaced with LEDs in the past year or so, the doors wouldn’t open so they had to replace the doors with some of their scrap parts and pieces. This also means with all LEDs in it, hopefully it will be here for many more years. It’s not a busy intersection. There was a school down the street years ago and closed in the early 2000’s I believe.

Ripe for the picking signal

There is another Deco just sitting with Utica’s other old “stuff” also. This is pretty much a twin to the light above except for the tunnel visors on the yellow lights. This one was installed for over 50 years at the intersection of State Street and Lafayette Street in Utica. I could give it a good home with the other Utica stuff I have.

Higby Rd and Oneida Street
Higby Road & Oneida Street

Another holdout from a bygone era. The 4 way has been there as long as long as I can remember. I’m not sure what was there before. These beauties in the 2nd photo are 12″ Crouse Hinds Art Deco signals. Again, I know I say this a lot, but they have been here as long as my memory goes back. Remember them in the late 1960’s when I was a little kid. They haven’t changed a bit except for a bit of rust and 12″ LEDs instead of glass lenses and reflectors.

There was one more set of these in all of Utica at what was the old Savage Arms then Sperry Univac then the Charlestown Mall Complex, which did burn down last week. Theres is also the Masonic Home complex at this spot.

Bleecker Street at Charlestown Complex

There used to be a crosswalk here with bus stops at either side for the employees of the area. I remember there was a 2 sided 12″ deco in the center and 2 single 12″ ones on each side with some worded pedestrian signals. Haven’t found a photo of it yet, but sooner or later I will. The setup is still here except for the signals now.

Albany Street and Tilden Ave

Another 4 way Crouse Hinds Deco. Once again, I don’t ever remember this intersection without this light. All my grandparents lived close by so I saw this a lot as a kid. It’s in fantastic shape still and some of the original green paint is starting to come though. It is a bit of a funky yellow color and has always looked like this to me. It’s yellow glass lenses got replaced by LEDs in the past year, so I assume it’s staying put. It’s a GREAT looking signal.

Columbia Street & Washington Street
Columbia Street & Washington Street

A shot of the “construction” in downtown Utica along with another old signal. 2 square blocks of old Utica was torn down to make way for a new hospital. 3 old intersections and their signals were also lost in the process along with many old buildings, some dating back to the late 1800’s that were hauled away to the county landfill. What happened to the signals is a mystery. 1 was a new plastic one and a couple were old Utica ones. Didn’t see them stashed away with the other old Utica signals, so not sure what became of them all.

John F. Hughes School
John F. Hughes School
John F. Hughes School

More old stuff still hanging around. Ballantyne Brae in front of Hughes School. This light operated only during school hours I believe. It’s at a crosswalk. Not sure if it cycles all by itself or if it’s manually controlled. Don’t think any of the pedestrian buttons work. The Utica way of doing stuff I guess.

Schuyler Street and Columbia Street
Schuyler Street and Lafayette Street
Schuyler Street and Lafayette Street
Schuyler Street and Lafayette Street

These 2 intersections are still here along with all the signals also. They’re both controlled by a single controller which I didn’t get a photo of. These 2 intersections were on flash for around a year because the old controller finally broke down and it took forever to get a new electronic one there. These lights will flash red one way and yellow the other when the train passes through this intersection.

Schuyler Street and Columbia Street

Car running along Schuyler Street going parallel with the tracks that run down the middle of the street.

Utica Snow Emergency Lights
Utica Snow Emergency Light
Look what I see
Utica Snow Emergency Light
Utica Snow Emergency Light

There used to be probably 30 or so of these lights up within the City of Utica. They were at some of the busier intersections and also on some of the main roads into the city. They used to have different graphics besides snow emergency. They used to so emergency snow route at one time as shown on this side of the sign. I think those were the roads plowed first and again no parking was allowed on them. The signs were all changed to snow emergency at some point. I’ve always wanted one of these!!

Wherever there was a snow emergency declared by the mayor, that meant that all cars had to be off the streets at 10pm so the city could plow the snow. This happened a few times of year when I was young where there were big snowstorms. The blue light would flash whenever a snow emergency was in effect.

These along some of the main streets were all inter connected with miles and miles of wire running from the central fire house on Bleecker Street. When the city fire department had their own dispatchers (before our county 911 center came about) they would flip a switch and turn the lights on of off.

Some other intersections that were not wired up like this were manually turned on by the police department by opening up the controller door and switching them on or off.

Utica Snow Emergency Light
Utica Snow Emergency Light

I’ve also thought these were pretty cool and have wanted one for a while. When me and another collector friend visited a contractor he does business with, I found these in the weeds and my eyes lit up I bet. Great piece of old Utica history for sure. The glass and cage I believe are Crouse Hinds Explosion Proof lights which I’ve seen for sale on eBay before.

It’s always fun traveling around the city seeing what we can find. The old signals are getting more scarce the past few years and it would be nice if some of the old time signals can get rescued instead of thrown in the dumpster again!! Hint Hint……..

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