The Pentagon: 22 Amazing Facts

Built as the house of the United States Department of Defense, the Pentagon is one of the structures that demonstrates the strength and resolve of U.S. values and democracy.

If you have ever had the opportunity to fly over the top of this massive structure, you will see the pentagon shape with the top corner pointed directly at the White House in Washington D.C.

I just gave you 1 amazing fact about the Pentagon; I will now provide 22 more amazing facts about the Pentagon. These facts are in no particular order. They are things that you may want to know. At the end of this post is a reference section where you can check the facts.

If you have any added facts, tell us in the comment section at the end.

1: Located in Arlington, Virginia

It is just across the Potomac River from Washington D.C.

2: There are 20+ fast food establishments in the Pentagon

They are all managed by the Navy Exchange. Included are:

  • Starbucks

  • KFC

  • Subway

  • Pizza Hut

  • McDonald’s

  • Taco Bell

  • Panda Express

  • and many more.

3: There are 7 floors

The Pentagon has 7 floors; 2 are below ground level and 5 are above. Ramps are used to get to other levels.

4: Has a Hall Of Heroes

The highest decoration in military service is the Medal of Honor. The Hall of Heroes at the Pentagon is a room on the main level that recognizes all the service members who served over and above their call of duty to receive the prestigious Medal of Honor.

5: Has 284 Restrooms

When the Pentagon was built, Virginia was still under racial segregation laws. Because of this, there were double the restrooms built in with white and black only signs. President Roosevelt ended segregation in the military in 1941, and when he visited the newly built Pentagon, he ordered all white and black only signs removed. Up until 1965, the Pentagon was the only building in Virginia without enforced segregation laws.

6: Earthquake damaged the Pentagon

On August 23rd, 2011, a 5.8 earthquake struck near Mineral, Virginia. The shaking caused some minor damage to the Pentagon. It broke water pipes causing flooding.

7: 5,100,000 square feet of office space

It is an astronomical figure, but the entire Pentagon has over 5 million square feet of office space. Just to give a picture, the Empire State Building has 2,700,000 square feet of office space.

8: The attack 60 years after construction began

On that dreadful day of September 11th, 2001… 60 years after construction began on the Pentagon, American Airlines Flight 77 was hijacked and flown into the western side of the building, killing 189 people.

9: 17 ½ miles long

Adding all the hallways together, the Pentagon is 17 ½ miles long.If you need a good workout, just walk the distance.

10: Miles of telephone cable

The Pentagon has approximately 100,000 miles of telephone cable. Just to paint a picture, the distance from London to Los Angeles is 5,437 miles.

11: Major Leslie Groves was the overseer

Then Major Leslie Groves who was an officer in the Army Corps of Engineers oversaw the construction of the Pentagon. Groves retired as a Lieutenant General.

12: 16,250 light fixtures

Yes, there are over 16,000 light fixtures in the Pentagon. Shouldn’t they go solar?

13: The largest building in the world

When you think about only having 7 floors, it is easy to disbelieve this, but the Pentagon IS at this time, the largest building in the world in complete area.

14: The Pentagon has unreal windows

Weighing almost 1 ton each, the windows in the Pentagon are 2 inches thick. They will withstand major attacks, but it has happened that bullets have shattered some of these windows.

15: Designed by George Bergstrom

Architect George Bergstrom designed the Pentagon. He was replaced before the completion because of controversy.

16: Has 6 different zip codes

The size of the Pentagon, and the amount of mail required that it have multiple zip codes. There are 6 different zip codes that will deliver mail to the Pentagon.

17: 4,200 clocks in the Pentagon

Not counting personal watches or clocks, there are 4,200 clocks within the Pentagon. What time is it?

18: Built on Hell’s Bottom

The Pentagon was built on land that was the dwelling place of descendants of former slaves. It was a slum area that was called Hell’s Bottom. 150 people were evicted to build the Pentagon.

19: Water anyone?

There should be no trouble if you need a drink of water at the Pentagon. There are 691 water fountains in this building.

20: A women’s restroom exploded

An anti-Vietnam War group called the Weather Underground placed a bomb in a restroom. It exploded at 1:00 AM and caused $75,000 in damage. No one was injured.

21: The start of construction

Construction on the Pentagon started on September 11th, 1941. The first employees moved in on April 30th, 1942. It wasn’t completed yet, but employees were moved in as each area was completed.

22: The official opening

The Pentagon was officially opened on January 14th, 1943. Because there was a steel shortage because of World War II, there were over 410,000 cubic yards of concrete used to build this structure. The sand for the concrete came from the nearby Potomac River.

Final Thoughts

It is an amazing building, and I would highly suggest that you take an opportunity to tour the Pentagon at some point in your life.

Just another fact, during the Cold War, the Pentagon was nicknamed “Ground Zero.” This is because the government assumed if Russia attacked, their first shot would be the Pentagon.

The Pentagon does have its own security force. It is the Pentagon Force Protection Agency. They include:

  • U.S. Pentagon Police

  • Federal police

  • Security personnel

  • Anti-terrorism personnel

  • CBRN Technicians

In all actuality, the Pentagon is probably better protected than many United States major cities.

So what are your thoughts? Have you visited the Pentagon? Have you ever viewed the Pentagon from the sky? Have you worked at the Pentagon or had a friend or family member who did?

Feel free to post your comments or questions in the section below. Thank you for visiting.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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