Electrical Workers Union Neon Sign

In Midtown by Khara Woods0 Comments

IBEW-Lead

Henry Miller, founder and first president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) union, worked on high voltage lines as a lineman for the Potomac Light and Power Company in Washington D.C. That is, until one day he suffered a tragic accident while restoring power to a neighborhood after a storm. Glenn Greenwell, president of Memphis’ local IBEW chapter, is no stranger to accidents either.

“I’ve been shocked several times. Nowadays you have to turn the electricity off. You never turned anything off [before],” he said.

Like Glenn, my father’s an electrician, so I’ve always been interested with this trade, which explains why I’m so enamored with the neon sign, seen just above the awning at IBEW’s local headquarters at 1870 Madison Avenue.

The sign features the words “Electrical Workers Union” in white and “Local 474” in red against a rich sapphire blue backdrop.  The words “Local 474” are accented by two lightning bolts. This sign is beautiful in the day and takes on a more mysterious quality at night. Stop by and see it glow. According to Glenn, the sign is set on an automatic timer and comes on each night around 5 p.m.

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Glenn shared an old picture of IBEW’s headquarters from 1958.

Here’s a detailed shot of the neon tubing and lightning bolts.

Here’s a detailed shot of the neon tubing and lightning bolts.

According to IBEW’s local president, Glenn Greenwell, the building where the Memphis’ headquarters is located was a school for girls in the 1940s.

According to IBEW’s local president, Glenn Greenwell, the building where the Memphis’ headquarters is located was a school for girls in the 1940s.

 

Khara Woods

Graphic Designer at Khara Woods Design
I am a graphic designer who specializes in print design and most recently, hand-lettering. When I’m not designing, I moonlight as a professional sign hunter. Yes, it's a real thing. You can see some of my pictures on my Instagram account (@Khara0ke).

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