Brooklyn Brownstoner article: Reader Unearths Fascinating 1969 Letter About Then-New Jehovah’s Witnesses HQ
Reader Unearths Fascinating 1969 Letter About Then-New Jehovah’s Witnesses HQ
by Barbara Eldredge 1/25/16
Left: Letter from the Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1969. Right: Photo of the Watchtower buildings by Joe Mable via Wikimedia
Here’s a fun blast from the past. After reading our post last week on how the Jehovah’s Witnesses came to Brooklyn, a Brownstoner tipster sent us the 1969 letter mailed out by Witness President Nathan H. Knorr when the organization bought their largest buildings in Brooklyn Heights.
Posted to church members around the globe, the letter thanked everyone involved for helping purchase the former pharmaceuticals complex — which was promptly put to use as paper storage. The letter also mentions the installation of the now-iconic Watchtower sign.
Today, these buildings are some of the most valuable sites in Brooklyn. And a number of these same buildings just went up for sale last year.
Read the Watchtower letter http://www.brownstoner.com/blog/2016/01/jehovah-witness-history-brooklyn-squibb-1969-donations/
Oh, how this news article brought back memories from long ago. For me the most interesting thing about the Watchtower letter posted in the article is the date on it - November 29, 1969. I remember the surprise I had reading the letter when it was posted on the Information Board in the Kingdom Hall in West Palm Beach, Florida, where we lived then.
The reason for my surprise in 1969 was because sometime in the winter of 1958-1959, when I was going in field service in Palm Beach, Florida, I met a very nice man in a gorgeous waterfront home who greeted me warmly when he opened his door. After I told him I was one of JWs, he said he had just left Brooklyn, NY, where he had a meeting with "my boss, Nathan!" I said, "Nathan who?" "Nathan Knorr," he replied. (By the way, this fellow had a very heavy Jewish accent.) He told me that the meeting he had with "Nathan" was about the Watchtower buying the Squibb Buildings and they were negotiating the price. At the time, I was engaged to Joe Anderson, a Bethelite, and I called him to tell him the news that WT was purchasing the Squibb buildings. I remember how much fun it was to tell him some WT news about Bethel before he knew about it!
However, I found out in 1969 from that letter hanging on the KH Information Board, that's when they closed the deal. I can only wonder why the deal fell through back in late 1950s. I told the Bethel Family about this experience when Joe, our son, Lance, and I were interviewed at a Bethel Family Night in November 1991. You might find it funny to hear me explain my experience in a video that was given to us as a gift the next day . http://watchtowerdocuments.org/media-room/
The story that I recall was floating around the organization by people in the "know" about this subject is that Nathan Knorr was on an airplane flying from somewhere back to NYC. On that flight was a corporate officer of Squibb. This man was speaking with Knorr and told him that he should buy the building from Squibb. The conversation between the two men started the ball rolling on the WTB&TS buying the building. This was mid to late 1960s as I recall.
I had never read that full story of Russel and the real estate and subsequent court cases (especially Empire); it really was all about the money. He had great ambition and lust for fame as well, as evidenced by his need for recognition.
That's quite the connection to the story, too, Ms. Anderson. : D I can well imagine that those were exciting times, being young and zealous. The real evils were not apparent in those days.
One thing this article made me remember ... 1969 ... the Awake! (TM) front cover about 1975. Yet, at the same time, making major investments in real estate. I was still a child, so don't remember the reasoning behind this. Perhaps an expansion of the 'preaching work' due to the urgency of the 1975 date?
Thanks, very interesting. xx
I cant remember 1969. But I remember people recently talking about the 1969 Awake! referencing 1975 and *Is it later than you think*
I have heard conversations recently wondering why the Borg was referring to 1975 in 1969 and undertaking such large investments in real estate.
Very nice to see you on the video Barbara. Great work you do down to this day as well.
I was 11 in 69, I remember the letter or two asking for money to help with the Financials to buy the Squibb building. And I so remember that letter being read!
I remember when the Squibb building was purchased , I was " in " about ten years then .and then the sign WATCHTOWER going up in lights .
It never dawned on me till many years later , why , WATCHTOWER ? in such a prominent visual position .
Wouldn` t JEHOVAH ? have been more applicable ? seeing he is the one they claim to represent because of Christendom`s , so called exclusion of the name which is utter bullshit ?
Their are thousands of references of Christendoms religions in texts , ancient writings and commentaries ,Bible Dictionaries , Commentaries . discussions of Old Testament , New Testament , thesis and so forth , both Jewish and Christian scholars that attest the name of God being recognised as Jehovah /Yahweh .going back Centuries .
Rebutting the lie that Christendom was hiding that name from Christians , and more importantly , that J.W.`s were the only ones that used Gods name .
What a load of rubbish that is still being said today.
Thanks for the info, Barbara. Nice Bethel interview (the lady interviewing you is a little bit irritating...)
The WT has a lucky hand buying all that property, now they are wealthy and keep asking for money.