According to local lore, the fire department used this alley as their testing grounds for new engines, i.e. horses. If a horse could gallop up the alley and still be breathing when it reached the top, it was qualified to pull the fire wagons.
As always, the best part about visiting this place is actually driving down the alley. (It is now one-way and driving up is restricted.) It is quite thrilling to drive down it in a modern vehicle with big disc brakes and I image that would be tame to doing it in a horse drawn wagon. In fact, perhaps suicidal would a more apt description. The picture above was actually taken on my second trip to the alley within twelve hours. By the time we ate our horseshoes in Springfield and got here, it was dark the first time we descended (with these particular visitors). Fortunately for them, I broke a fitting on my filtered water pressure tank that necessitated a trip to Burlington to buy the correct piece to fix it. They couldn't resist making the journey again to see Snake Aly in the light of day.