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Rebuilding the Pentagon with Indiana Limestone

Sep 08

In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack, then-President George W. Bush asked for a fast turnaround on rebuilding the Pentagon. The Pentagon was one of four buildings targeted by terrorists on that fateful day. The building, originally constructed in 1941, is clad in Indiana Limestone custom full-color blend.

“I think it was never a question that Indiana Limestone would be back on that building,” says Indiana Limestone Chief Operating Officer, Duffe Elkins. “We mobilized as fast as we could.”

Elkins got a first-hand look at the damage to the Pentagon just days after the attack.

“We were escorted around to survey the damage,” Elkins explains. “There’s a special finish on the Pentagon that required special equipment. Bybee Stone in Ellettsville, Indiana had the equipment to make it happen.”

Photo courtesy of PBS

Elkins worked with Bybee by essentially trading workloads, so Bybee could focus on restoring the Pentagon’s Indiana Limestone facade quickly and safely.

The rebuilding effort consisted of 45 truckloads containing 15,000 cubic feet of stone. Former Bybee Stone Drafting Supervisor, Pat Riley, says cameras were not allowed on-site, which made the restoration job a little harder. “All salvaged stones were stacked in the yard next to the building, and I spent two days sketching profiles and measuring stones,” he says. “A couple of original 1940s stone shop drawings were provided, but from a different part of the building – apparently all that was available. The information gathered in the field was then used with the original drawings to create shop drawings before contract (architectural) drawings were produced. This was a first for me.”

Riley says the facade was rebuilt using salvaged Indiana Limestone in concert with new stone. “I spent a day in that fenced parking lot, going through the salvaged stone, trying to determine what could be used,” he says. “Three members of our military came up to the cage I was in that secured the salvaged stone and told me their stories. They each asked for a piece of the Pentagon.”

“Just being there, on-site, eight days later, it was the most patriotic moment of my life,” says Elkins. “To be there, in the midst of such tragedy, to see thousands of Americans doing what they needed to do to make this right. It was incredible.”

The Pentagon was rededicated on September 11, 2002, a year after the attacks.

“Indiana Limestone never looked so good, so appropriate, so formidable to me as it did on September 11th, 2002, at 9:30 in the morning at the Pentagon, in Washington D.C.,” says Laura Bybee, wife of Bybee Stone Company owner, Will Bybee. “The Pentagon had been healed, the breach closed.”

 

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