Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Pentagon - Back in 1944

The Pentagon is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defence and is the largest office building in the world in terms of floor area (6.5 million square feet or 604 thousand square metres).

It was begun in 1941 and completed in 1943 after a remarkably fast construction period during which the actual building process was at times ahead of the plans that were being prepared simultaneously.

The images shown here were taken by the US Army Signal Corps in 1944, soon after completion of the building and provide a fascinating glimpse into the working conditions inside early 70 years ago. The captions are as originally written and published in a booklet called simply "The Pentagon" as issued in 1944.

Image above: Ramps lead from the Concourse to various floors. Guards posted at the doorways to the ramps check military passes and civilian's badges. Brief cases, packages, and papers are thoroughly inspected. (Click on image to enlarge)

At the time many of the processes and procedures were on the very cutting edge of technology and provide an interesting contrast with today’s computer driven working environment.

Pentagon workers' efficiency is enhanced by excellent lighting, insulation against sound, and a well planned layout. There are 21,00 desks. (Click on image to enlarge)

The Adjutant General's reproduction branch is a great photographing, printing and duplicating establishment. It reproduces such things as battle casualty reports, Army Postal Service Directories, vital 'short run publications' and Bureau of Public relations press releases. (Click on image to enlarge)

A messenger pedalling a tricycle loaded with documents and official mail. (Click on image to enlarge)

The South Parking Area is the larger of the two main parking areas. Into it drive most of the 6,000 cars which arrive at The Pentagon each morning. In the background is the Navy Department's Arlington Annex. (Click to enlarge)

The Secretary of War's Office is furnished with a table used by Lincoln (foreground) and a portrait of Timothy Pickering, the second Secretary of War. One phone connects directly with the White House. (Click to enlarge)

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