Read Part 1 of this story.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses — aka the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society — first came to Brooklyn in 1908, in hopes of having their sermons syndicated in newspapers alongside the writings of the borough’s most famous pastors. It was under the Watchtower’s autocratic second leader, Joseph F. Rutherford, that the religious group truly began practicing the art of Brooklyn real estate.

This is the 100-year story of how the Jehovah’s Witnesses grew to be a global phenomenon and came to own some of Brooklyn’s most valuable properties.


Photo of Bridge Park II by Barbara Eldredge. Rendering of Bridge Park II skate park from the Jehovah’s Witnesses via Brooklyn Eagle

Talk about a quick turnaround. Just three weeks after local pols called for the Jehovah’s Witnesses to make once-promised repairs to Dumbo’s Bridge Park II, the religious organization pledged $5.5 million to overhaul the park.

Or is it a long-delayed turnaround?