January 15, 1943: The Pentagon, designed by architect George Bergstrom, was dedicated in Arlington, VA. Ground was broken on September 11, 1941, meaning that construction lasted an impressively scant 16 months.

Two maps, only six years apart, show the development of the area immediately surrounding the Pentagon. The first map, from 1942, depicts the area during construction. The area labeled “Experimental Farm” was originally intended to be the Pentagon’s location, before concern arose that the building may block the view of DC from Arlington Cemetery.

Maps: L.B. Prince Co. Map of Washington: showing streets, main thoroughfares, principle buildings, points of interest with visiting hours and temporary U.S. government buildings. Arlington, VA; Trenton, NJ: L.B. Prince Co., c1942.

National Geographic Society (U.S.) Cartographic Section. A Pocket map of central Washington, District of Columbia… . Washington: The Society, c1948 (Baltimore : A Hoen and Co.)

maps cartography pentagon government architecture washington dc

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