Skip to Content

Squibb Plant, Brooklyn

By Dan Brenner

Posted on April 17, 2019

Squibb Plant, Brooklyn, V1973.5.789; Brooklyn Photograph and Illustration Collection, ARC.202; Brooklyn Historical Society.

After serving as a physician at the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s Medical Station, Edward Robinson Squibb founded his own pharmaceutical manufacturing company, The Squibb Company, in 1858. In 1892, he formed a partnership with his family and changed the name to E.R. Squibb and Sons. During the 1920s, Squibb hired architect Russell G. Cory and associate Walter M. Cory of Turner Construction Company to design and build a new manufacturing plant located at 25-30 Columbia Heights in the Fulton Ferry District of Brooklyn, as seen above. E.R. Squibb and Sons would become one of the largest manufacturers of mineral oil in the world, as well as one of the nation’s largest producers of vitamins.

In 1969, as a result of the postwar deindustrialization of the waterfront, several mergers, and a worker’s strike, the Squibb Plant closed its doors and consolidated their operations to nearby Princeton, New Jersey. That same year the building was purchased by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society (the legal entity of the Jehovah’s Witnesses), who were at the time expanding their operations in the area. Over the past fifty years you may have seen the iconic red “watchtower” letters as you walked or drove over the Brooklyn Bridge, illuminating the skyline with the time and temperature. The Jehovah’s Witnesses group decided to move their headquarters to upstate New York and sold the building to developers in 2016 to turn it into a multi-office and retail complex.

This image comes from the Brooklyn Photograph and Illustration collections. For more information please see our finding aid here and for more photographs from the collection, please visit our image gallery here.

Interested in seeing more photos from BHS’s collection? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images. Interested in seeing even more historic Brooklyn images? Visit our Brooklyn Visual Heritage website here. To search BHS’s entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections; visit BHS’s Othmer Library Wed-Sat, 1:00-5:00 p.m. [email protected].

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked