The Pentagon

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The Pentagon is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, located in Arlington, Virginia. As a symbol of the U.S. military, "the Pentagon" is often used metonymically to refer to the Department of Defense rather than the building itself.

Designed by the Swedish American architect George Bergstrom (1876 – 1955), and built by Philadelphia, Pennsylvania general contractor John McShain, the building was dedicated on January 15, 1943 after ground was broken for construction on September 11, 1941. General Brehon Somervell provided the major motive power behind the project[1]; Colonel Leslie Groves (whose administrative ability, drive and forcefulness led to his nomination to head the Manhattan Project in 1942) and major Clarence Renshaw were responsible for overseeing the project for the Army.

The Pentagon is one of the world's largest office buildings.[2] It houses approximately 23,000 military and civilian employees[2]and about 3,000 non-defense support personnel. It has five sides, five floors above ground (plus two basement levels), and five ring corridors per floor with a total of 17.5 miles (28.2 km) of corridors.

The central plaza in the Pentagon is five acres (20,000 m²). The open space in the center is informally known as "ground zero", a nickname originating during the Cold War and based on the presumption that the Soviet Union would target one or more nuclear missiles at this central location. At the center of this plaza was once the "Ground Zero Cafe", a snack bar.[3]

Just south of the Pentagon are Pentagon City and Crystal City, extensive shopping and high-density residential districts in Arlington. Arlington National Cemetery is to the north. The Washington Metro Pentagon station is also located at the Pentagon, on the Blue and Yellow Lines. The Pentagon is surrounded by the complex Pentagon road network.[4]

Part of this article consists of modified text from Wikipedia, and the article is therefore licensed under GFDL.


  1. Steve Vogel, The Pentagon: a History (2007).
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Pentagon, Facts & Figures (accessed January 19, 2008)
  3. Hoffman, Lisa (29 September 2006). "The 'Ground Zero Cafe' bites the dust". Capitol Hill Blue. Retrieved 2007-01-14. 
  4. Mixing Bowl Interchange Complex. Retrieved on 2006-11-22.