The Secrets of The Jehovah’s Witnesses N.Y. HQ That Came to Light in 2019!

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The Secrets of The Jehovah’s Witnesses N.Y. HQ That Came to Light in 2019!

The Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW) moved its Headquarters from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Brooklyn Heights New York, in 1909 and there it stayed until 2016, before moving up-state New York to its brand new building. Selling its HQ in N.Y. after making huge profits on their properties that have soared in value in recent years.  

The JW had six different properties close to each other, that not new or a secret I hear you say. No, but the tunnels that the JW dug first were excavated c. 1924 followed by four more tunnels in the 1960s. In a petition asking for permission to build a ‘passageway’ meaning a tunnel. JW said it would be ‘for the conveying of merchandise.’ Which would then link all their properties together. Making an underground network with access to all JW properties. What was underground, well, for a start there was a large Kingdom Hall, a large cafeteria, large storage, thorofare to various JW buildings. Also, the tunnels housed offices, a grocery store and laundromats as well as meals prepared in the tunnels.

None of which the public was aware of although the JW leased sections of the tunnel sites that were beneath public roadways to the Department of Transportation. Gregory Hall, a former Jehovah’s Witness who left the religion a couple of years ago, told the media the tunnels were ‘a little creepy.’ Housekeepers transported laundry and cook’s transported food, Hall said. He detailed that they were used for ‘privacy, security,’ and an easy way to navigate through buildings.’ In communication between the group and the Department of Transportation. The tunnels were said to be officially used as a pedestrian passageway to transport supplies. Other former members say the tunnels were used for tasks performed by the elderly, for ‘privacy, security,’ and were an easy way to navigate through buildings along with protection against ‘the outside people.’

Former Jehovah’s Witness, Amber Scorah, told Gothamist, ‘I think that a lot of the reason thousands of young Jehovah’s Witnesses volunteered to work for [almost] no pay at Bethel was because it meant you got to live in New York City.’ She added it was ‘definitely frowned upon for Witnesses’ who worked there to interact with the outside world except to preach.

Four of the five tunnels are filled in at present after the Jehovah’s Witnesses decided to relocate their HQ to upstate New York. 

Where were the Tunnels?

The tunnels connected each JW building in Brooklyn Heights:  

The original tunnel built by the Squibb family ran beneath Vine Street, between two of the buildings, in what would become the multi-building Watchtower headquarters 

97 Columbia Heights to 107 Columbia Heights

107 Columbia Heights to 124 Columbia Heights

124 Columbia Heights to 119 Columbia Heights

86 Willow Street to 77-79 Willow Street (also known as 21 Clark Street) 

The current status of the ‘Squibb tunnel’ is unknown. All the rest of the tunnels have been filled. 

What do you say on any part or all of this post?

Keep safe!





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