Anniversary of The Pentagon Dedication
Celebrating the World’s Largest Office Building
January 15, 2014 by Heidi Alger
71 years ago today the Pentagon was dedicated:
January 15, 1943
The Pentagon, headquarters of the Department of Defense, in Arlington County, Va., took less than two years to complete. In honor of its anniversary, we have assembled some facts about one of the most unique facilities in the country that was a definite work in progress from design to dedication:
- The building went up in record time! The groundbreaking ceremony was held Sept. 11, 1941. With more than 15,000 workers on site around the clock, it took only 16 months to complete—and should have taken four years. The demand for office space was so great that employees found themselves working in offices without walls and walking around the complex on wooden planks laid across the construction pits. Really.
- Designed by architect George Bergstrom, the original site of this government facility was Arlington Farms, a space shaped like a—you guessed it—pentagon. But President Roosevelt was concerned that the building might obstruct the view of the capitol city from Arlington Cemetery, so he opted to move construction to the Hoover Airport site…what a view!
- Due to the steel shortage, the building’s height was capped at just over 77 feet and was built as a reinforced concrete structure, explaining its sprawl across nearly 29 acres.
- The U.S. Capitol could fit into just one of the building’s five sides—and with over 5,100,000 square feet, it has twice the office space of the Empire State Building.
- The Pentagon uses six zip codes and its registered postal address is Washington, D.C., even though it’s located in Virginia.
- There is enough telephone wire in the building to wrap around the world four and a half times!
- When Dwight Eisenhower was Army Chief of Staff he got lost in the building while on a walk and was forced to ask for directions back to his own office.
- While it’s possible to get across the furthest points of the building in under 10 minutes [which requires taking a shortcut through the open courtyard at the center of the complex and walking at a fast pace], those who can’t walk the corridors on their own have help: the Department of Defense provides scooters and self-propelled vehicles that can travel at the lightening speed of…3mph.
The Pentagon underwent a 13-year renovation that was completed in 2011. During that time, Flight 77 crashed into the building on Sept. 11, 2001. The victims of the attack are memorialized in the Pentagon Memorial adjacent to the building. This park contains a bench for each victim, arranged by their year of birth from 1930-1998. Our thoughts go out to the victims and their families.
Image Source: http://www.retroplanet.com/blog/retro-museum/dedication-pentagon-1943/ , WikiCommons