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.