Sunday, December 2, 2012

Something about the Pentagon

Here are some interestig facts about the Pentagon (Arlington, Virginia) the symbol of the US military.
Thanks Wikipedia (references below).

  • It is the world's largest office building by floor area, with about 6,500,000 sq ft (600,000 m2), of which 3,700,000 sq ft (340,000 m2) are used as offices. Approximately 28,000 military and civilian employees and about 3,000 non-defense support personnel work in the Pentagon.
  • The site originally chosen was Arlington Farms which had a roughly pentagonal shape, so the building was planned accordingly as an irregular pentagon.  Concerned that the new building could obstruct the view of Washington, D.C. from Arlington Cemetery, President Roosevelt ended up selecting the Hoover Airport site instead. The building retained its pentagonal layout because a major redesign at that stage would have been costly, and Roosevelt liked the design. Freed of the constraints of the asymmetric Arlington Farms site, it was modified into a regular pentagon. 
  • The Pentagon was built between September 11, 1941 and Januar, 15, 1943 so during the period of racial segregation in the United States even if it has to pointed out that President Roosevelt had made an order ending such racial discrimination in the U.S. military already in June 1941. Anyway, under the supervision of colonel Leslie Groves, it was decided to have separate eating and lavatory accommodations for whites and blacks. These measures of segregation were said to have been done in compliance with the state of Virginia’s racial laws. When the President visited the Pentagon before its dedication he questioned Groves regarding the number of washrooms and ordered him to remove the “Whites Only” signs. The Pentagon for a long time was the only building in Virginia where segregation was not allowed. For the record, the Supreme Court outlawed segregated public education facilities for blacks and whites at the state level only in 1954 and the  Civil Rights Act of 1964 ended all state and local laws requiring segregation. Anyway, due to this "peculiar" design choice, still today, the Pentagon has double the standard amount of toilet facilities that would be needed for a building of its size.

The Pentagon
The Racial segregation in the US

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