The Pentagon, Data & Facts
The Pentagon, headquarters of the Department of Defense, is one of the world's largest office buildings. It is twice the size of the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, and has three times the floor space of the Empire State Building in New York. The National Capitol could fit into any one of the five wedge-shaped sections. There are very few people throughout the United States who do not have some knowledge of the Pentagon.
Construction began on September 11th, 1941 ! The first employees moved in on April 29th, 1942, and the construction was completed on January 15th, 1943.
On September 11, 2001, the Pentagon was target of a terrorist attack - at the same time the World Trade Center in New York was attacked by terrorists who flew two commercial airliners into the building that later collapsed.
The Pentagon is virtually a city in itself. Approximately 23,000 employees, both military and civilian, contribute to the planning and execution of the defense of our country. These people arrive daily from Washington, D.C. and its suburbs over approximately 30 miles of access highways, including express bus lanes and one of the newest subway systems in our country. They ride past 200 acres of lawn to park approximately 8,770 cars in 16 parking lots; climb 131 stairways or ride 19 escalators to reach offices that occupy 3,705,793 square feet. While in the building, they tell time by 4,200 clocks, drink from 691 water fountains, utilize 284 rest rooms, consume 4,500 cups of coffee, 1,700 pints of milk and 6,800 soft drinks prepared or served by a restaurant staff of 230 persons and dispensed in 1 dining room, 2 cafeterias, 6 snack bars, and an outdoor snack bar. The restaurant service is a privately run civilian operation under contract to the Pentagon.
Over 200,000 telephone calls are made daily through phones connected by 100,000 miles of telephone cable. The Defense Post Office handles about 1,200,000 pieces of mail monthly. Various libraries support our personnel in research and completion of their work. The Army Library alone provides 300,000 publications and 1,700 periodicals in various languages.
Built during the early years of World War II, it is still thought of as one of the most efficient office buildings in the world. Despite 17.5 miles of corridors it takes only seven minutes to walk between any two points in the building.
The original site was nothing more than wasteland, swamps and dumps. 5.5 million cubic yards of earth, and 41,492 concrete piles contributed to the foundation of the building. Additionally, 680,000 tons of sand and gravel, dredged from the nearby Potomac River, were processed into 435,000 cubic yards of concrete and molded into the Pentagon form.
The building was constructed in the remarkably short time of 16 months and completed on January 15, 1943 at an approximate cost of $83 million.
It consolidated 17 buildings of the War Department and returned its investment within seven years.