In celebration of a 100-year history, IBEW Local 175 will hold a public open house on Monday, from 3–7 p.m., at union headquarters, 3922 Volunteer Drive, Chattanooga 32416.
Barry Key, Local 175 business manager, said, “This event marks our official 100th anniversary, and kicks off a week-long celebration with activities that highlight the local’s pride in its long-term relationships with partners, customers and vendors, who include many of the region’s biggest businesses and organizations.”
Crowds filled the streets and the air was electric with excitement on Sept. 2, 1940. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was in town to dedicate the Chickamauga Dam. And seven-year-old Ken Smith was determined to get a glimpse of FDR.
“We knew he was staying up on Lookout Mountain,” said Mr. Smith, who would go on to found a dynasty of IBEW Local 175 members. “Everyone crowded close to the route to see him drive by. And then—there he was in his black Lincoln, with the top down, and the Secret Service agents hanging onto the running boards.” Mr. Smith has never forgotten that moment. And although he was not present at the President’s speech later at the dam, its words ring down through history into today:
“This dam, all the dams built in this short space of years, stand as a monument to the productive partnership between management and labor, between citizens of all kinds working together in the public weal. Collective bargaining and efficiency have proceeded hand in hand. It is noteworthy that the splendid new agreement between organized labor and the Tennessee Valley Authority begins with the words 'The public interest in an undertaking such as the TVA always being paramount.'
“It is appropriate, therefore, that we recognize this signal achievement on the day when the whole nation pays tribute to labor's contribution to the democracy that we are now preparing to defend. To all of you, therefore—all of you who have contributed to make these structures possible throughout this beautiful Valley of the Tennessee—I extend the Nation's thanks.”
— President Franklin D. Roosevelt, “Address at the Chickamauga Dam”, Sept. 7, 1940.
The Open House will feature the music of local bluegrass favorites Slim Pickins, along with food catered by Open of the Blue Café, and is free.
For more information, call 894-3557.