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Behind the Lens: This Vintage Stoplight Still Keeps Traffic Moving

Photos and musings from photographer David Kidd.

Canajoharie dummy light
(David Kidd)
At the dawn of the automobile age, traffic moved through busy intersections with the help of a police officer standing atop a pedestal. When the electric signal came along, it too was positioned on a platform at the center of the action. These street-level traffic signals known as "dummy lights" used to be common sights in cities and small towns. 

Eventually, most of the lights were moved out of traffic, overhead on poles and wires. But one of the nation's last remaining dummy lights is still in use in the small town of Canajoharie, N.Y.

The vintage signal has been in operation for 92 years. Citing safety concerns, there have been occasional but unsuccessful efforts to get rid of the antique light. But since most of the village is on the National Register of Historic Places, many folks seem happy to keep their right-of-way just as it is.

Zach Patton -- Executive Editor. Zach joined GOVERNING as a staff writer in 2004. He received the 2011 Jesse H. Neal Award for Outstanding Journalism
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