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ABOUT IBEW 38

 

The Turn of the Century

Commercial activity continued into the early 1900s with the construction of the Caxton, Rose, Williamson, Scofield, Citizens, Rockefeller and Cleveland Athletic Club buildings.

In the early days of Local 38, there was little inside electrical work. The Old Stone Church on Public Square was the first building in the city to be wired for incandescent lighting. Other buildings soon followed suit.

The 1920s were a time of heady industrial expansion, and Local 38 was in the thick of it. Electricians were extremely valued tradesmen for such projects as the new Public Auditorium, the Main Library and the Music Hall. Wiring was needed for the new Playhouse Square district boasting live and motion picture theaters.

In 1923, ground was broken for the largest building project in the city’s history – the Cleveland Union Terminal complex and the Terminal Tower. Covering 17 acres, “the Depot Job” employed scores of electricians who installed the power that would make 85 modern streetlamps glow.

A few years later the stock market crash and the Great Depression would put a halt to the massive building boom in Cleveland. It wasn’t until the Great Lakes Exposition of 1936-37 that the weariness of the Depression began to lift and electricians went back to work. Constructed along the lakefront, the Expo was a celebration of industry and featured Cleveland as a center of lighting research.

Lewis Doehring was an apprentice at the time. “I remember getting 50 cents an hour on that job,” he said. “I spent three months of the time digging ditches for the underground cable we had to lay.”

1940 - Present Day...