US pentagon building aerial view at sunsetWe were so excited about our recent dumpster delivery to the Pentagon in Arlington, VA! This 5-sided, or pentagon-shaped, building is the headquarters for the US Department of Defense. Every year, it draws more than 106,000 visitors for tours.

The Pentagon was one of the sites of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, exactly 60 years after its construction began on September 11, 1941. That day, 189 people died when a plane crashed into the building. Since the section where the plane hit had recently been renovated, it was not fully occupied. Otherwise, many more people would have lost their lives that day.

Keep reading to learn some fast facts about the Pentagon and its construction, size, and shape.

Construction

  • The Pentagon was constructed in only 16 months, thanks to a round-the-clock, multiple-shift schedule.
  • It needed to be built quickly because, after the Pearl Harbor Attack, there was an influx of military personnel flooding into Washington.
  • Construction went in spurts, often before blueprints and design documents were completed. More than 1,000 architects worked on-site to construct the building.
  • Since it was constructed during WWII when steel was in high demand, the building is mostly made of concrete.
  • The total building costs were $83 million, today’s equivalent of approximately $1.33 billion.

Size

  • With more than 17 miles of hallways inside, it’s the world’s largest low-rise office building.
  • Inside, you’ll find 131 stairways, 284 bathrooms, 4,200 clocks, 19 escalators, and 691 water fountains.
  • Its 16 parking lots can hold 8,770 cars.
  • The five sides of the pentagon enclose a five-acre courtyard.
  • A lap around the outside of the building is close to 1 mile.
  • The Pentagon contains 16,250 light fixtures, which require 250 daily light bulbs changes.
  • The telephone wire in the Pentagon could wrap around the planet 4.5 times.
  • Before every desk had a telephone and before the days of email, messengers used to travel around the hallways on rollerskates to cut down on time!

Shape

  • The first site of the Pentagon as Arlington Farms, which is a pentagon-shaped lot. Since building there would obstruct the view of Washington, D.C. from Arlington Cemetery, a new site was selected. Since by then, planning was in its advanced stages, the pentagon shape stayed the same.
  • The site where the Pentagon rests was once Hoover Lot, an airport that served Washington. 
  • Theodore Roosevelt, who was president at the time of construction, liked the unique design.
  • The shape also allowed for quicker walking distances. Architects calculated that walking time would be 30 to 50% less than a rectangular building. Similar efficiency to a circle, but much easier to build.

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