Retro photos: Lineworkers brighten our communities

Support the men and women who keep the lights on for National Lineworker Appreciation Day

Here's a look at Duke Energy and legacy company lineworkers through the years. You can show your support of National Lineworker Appreciation Day, April 18, by sharing this story on your social media network. And keep scrolling to find out what we learned about a Retro photo we shared previously.

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This stylish Public Service Indiana lineworker reminds us how much work attire has changed over the years. We don’t know his name, but he’s identified as the first company lineman in Kokomo, Ind. 

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The oldest photo in the bunch comes from our Duke Power Company collection. It shows a Greensboro, N.C., line team from the 1920s.

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A Cincinnati Gas & Electric (CG&E) crew looks on as a lineworker completes the task at hand. This photo was taken some time in the 1980s, perhaps in 1986 when Jackson H. Randolph was named president of CG&E.  

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In addition to their day jobs to keep the lights on for customers, line teams restore power after storms. This pre-1999 photo shows a Carolina Power & Light (CP&L) lineworker staging area during storm duty. CP&L began doing business as Progress Energy Corporation in 2000. Duke Energy and Progress Energy combined their companies in 2012, expanding Duke Energy's services to Florida.

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We’re unsure when this photo was taken, but it belongs to our Florida Power Corporation (FPC) collection. The St. Petersburg-based company began to offer electricity in Florida in 1899. It changed its name several times, landing on FPC in 1927.

And the employees are …

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Photo 802: We’ve ID’ed the CP&L lineworkers in this photo – and we know where it was taken – thanks to Dale Sutton, Greg Davis, Greg Whitney and others. 

“This picture is from our climbing school at New Hill Training Center in 1997,” said Whitney, pictured on the far right. “It was our CP&L graduation photo. Thank you [for sharing] as this generated a lot of good-natured fun with co-workers who saw the picture.”

“It became a tradition, a history type thing, where we took a photo of every graduating class. We kept them in a book of all the graduates through the years,” said Ryon Roberts, an instructor at New Hill from about 2005 to 2015. “But me and Greg [Whitney] were laughing. He said, ‘You know you’ve been here a long time when you end up in Retro.’”

While Roberts is not pictured, he shared something we can’t see: "I do know that Danny Bost is the one in the bucket truck taking the picture. Danny has since retired, but he was the lead of that training center when I first went up there.”

New Hill Training Center is behind the Harris Energy & Environmental Center, about two miles from Harris Nuclear Plant in New Hill, N.C., located on what’s known as Training Boulevard. And from what we hear, New Hill is still in use.

“It was a whole fleet building that we converted into a lineman training facility,” Roberts said. “Basically, we cut roads through the woods, gravel roads, and we built overhead and underground lines through all those roads to mimic what a distribution lineman would see in the field. In the picture, you see the climbing arena where we certified them in climbing and rescue, all those activities.”

Bobby Lowder explained that he, too, went through the training program at New Hill back in 1982. “I’m sure it has grown and changed a lot since I was there,” he said. “I worked with Ronnie Smith [pictured] for years. He and I were senior linemen together when this photo was taken. When Ronnie retired as a supervisor, he loved to and often volunteered to teach at the training center.”