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THE month of April proved none too long for the transfer of the Headquarters of the Society from Pittsburgh to Brooklyn. It may astonish some of the friends to know that, between the stock of Tracts and Books, office fixtures, home furniture, etc., seven large cars were required for the removal. It required considerable time to pack and as much or more to unpack and to properly locate here. Meantime we did our best to handle our large mail and the orders it contained. If some of you have been unduly delayed and inconvenienced we trust that you will pardon us, remembering the cause of it. We trust that in our new quarters we shall be able to serve the increasing demands upon us more successfully than has been recently possible in the old quarters, where matters had become considerably congested.
Naturally the friends of New York and vicinity have felt a justifiable curiosity and interest in the arrangements, not only in the Tabernacle Auditorium but also in its office and shipping departments, and an additional curiosity in the home which we style Bethel. However, remembering the general interests of the work everywhere, we requested the dear friends in this vicinity to restrain their loving curiosity, assuring them that when we would be in order a general Reception would be arranged. The opportune time for that reception came the night before we took the steamer for the European tour. We want to give you all a little picture of the Reception on that evening, so that those who can never visit the Tabernacle and Bethel actually may enjoy the pleasure of a mental survey of their appointments.
The family took an early luncheon so as to be prepared to give their entire attention to the visiting friends. The reception was set for from seven to nine o'clock, but, as had been anticipated, some came earlier. On they came, a happy company of about three hundred and sixty—according to some estimates four hundred and fifty. They were received at the entrance, No. 13 Hicks street, in the Sales Room by a brother and three sisters. From there another sister showed them the sisters' cloak room and lavatory. Then a brother showed them the Mailing Department—how the lists are kept; how they are printed upon the wrappers; and how the Towers and People's Pulpit are prepared for mailing. Next they were shown the Subscription Department and the locations occupied by the different helpers and the safes in which the addresses are kept by the card system. Next they were met by a representative of the Colporteur Department, who gave them some explanation respecting that part of the work. Then they had explained to them the method of keeping track of the Pilgrims and the requests for their services by the card system. After this they were shown the desks of the various workers in the Correspondence Department.
When through with this inspection they were referred to another brother, who showed them the files of old Towers and then directed them onward to the Basement. Arriving in the basement a brother took them in charge and showed them the Packing Department. Another showed them the type-setting arrangements. Then they were shown the bins in which the general supplies of "Dawn-Studies" in the various languages, Booklets, Tracts, Charts, Bibles and Mottoes are kept. Then they looked at the furnace. These inspections being finished they were directed to a front stairway which landed them on the street at entrance No. 17 Hicks street. Here they were directed how to find their way to "Brooklyn Bethel," some blocks distant. In the center window in the front of the Tabernacle on plate glass in gold and colors the cross and crown pin, which so many of you have, is reproduced on a large scale—about three feet in diameter. Above it are the words, BROOKLYN TABERNACLE, PEOPLE'S PULPIT. Below the cross and crown design are the words "IN THE CROSS OF CHRIST WE GLORY." Wishing to give to each visitor a memento of trifling value, one of these cross and crown pins was thought most suitable; accordingly one was presented to each before leaving the building.
The constant stream of people occasioned no end of comment in the neighborhood. The Bethel doors stood wide open and one of the sisters receiving the friends as they entered ushered them into the parlor, a fine large room. The parlor is furnished in part with the parlor furniture from the Allegheny Bible House but mainly with furniture purchased with the "surplus" money presented by the Allegheny Congregation to Brother Russell, in connection with the rug and the mahogany desk and chair and stands for his study. Some of the sisters received the friends in the parlor and then passed them along through the double doorway to Brother Russell, who received them in his study. These two splendid rooms with lofty ceilings and heavy stucco work constitute the main floor of Bethel. In the center of the study is an old style, massive chandelier, to the bottom of which is suspended a white dove with pinions spread wide, a present to the study by Sister Seibert. Additional to the articles already described as presented to the Study by the Allegheny Church is a large arm chair presented to Brother Russell some years ago by the Los Angeles Church, also a stenographer's desk, a large photograph cabinet containing pictures of hundreds of Watch Tower friends, including Pilgrims and Colporteurs. There also is a couch where Brother Russell sleeps at night within reach of the telephone and thus within reach of you all, the world over. Finally we must not forget to mention a large walnut book case covering the entire west side of the room—with a capacity [R4395 : page 150] of two thousand volumes—the identical one used for years by that celebrated preacher, Henry Ward Beecher, who may not improperly be said to have made Brooklyn famous.
From the study the visitors were shown upward to the second floor, which is devoted exclusively to the use of the unmarried sisters. This floor has four rooms. Upward still to the third floor they were shown, whose five rooms are occupied by the married couples of the family. This is as high as some of the friends cared to go. But those who desired were shown to the top floor, whose six rooms are occupied by the unmarried brethren.
While inspecting the upper floors the friends were invited to look out of the windows at the rear of the house. There they saw a most enchanting spectacle. To their left was the Harbor and Staten Island and Jersey City, while directly in front of them were scores of the most massive and lofty buildings in the world—lower New York. The electric lights could be seen in the windows in many of these twenty and thirty stories high. The Singer Building, electrically illuminated from base to roof outside and inside (forty-seven stories), was a sight which could not be duplicated elsewhere in the world.
So much walking and sight-seeing served to give the friends some appetite and appropriately they were next invited to the basement of the building, where a dining-room more than fifty feet long was able to accommodate sixty at a time. They were supplied some simple refreshments at the willing hands of members of the family. From the dining-room and its hallway access was had to the street and the dear friends were bidden "Good night!" We hope the visitors enjoyed themselves as much on the occasion as did the household of Brooklyn Tabernacle and Bethel.