Re-building a national icon

May 1, 2002
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Bybee Stone Co. of Ellettsville, IN, is fabricating new Indiana limestone pieces to replace areas of the Pentagon that were damaged during the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Approximately 18,000 cubic feet (2.5 million pounds) of Indiana variegated limestone is being used to re-create the building. All the work is designed to match the original construction. The stone blocks are being quarried by Independent Limestone Co. of Bloomington, IN.
Indiana limestone craftsmen were deeply effected, as all Americans, by the tragedy of September 11. Now, Bybee Stone Co. and the stone belt region of Southern Indiana are playing a vital role in the healing process by helping to re-build one of our nation?s most visible landmarks --the U.S. Pentagon.

The company, which is a fabricator and refurbisher of Indiana limestone, received a federal contract to provide the limestone needed to repair the damage to the Pentagon caused by the terrorist attacks. Bybee was awarded the work on October 29, 2001, after a review of limestone sample panels and a mock-up of the Pentagon?s facade. Independent Limestone Co. in Bloomington, IN, will supply the limestone blocks for the much- anticipated project.

Approximately 18,000 cubic feet (2.5 million pounds) of Indiana variegated limestone is being used to re-create the building. All the work is designed to match the original construction. The stonework will feature a smooth or shot sawn finish, depending on whether a flat or molded stone is called for. There are also some dentil details on some of the windows and some guttae bands located above the pilasters.

The company is more than honored to help out, taking part in the nation?s efforts to restore its spirit and pride. "A lot of the guys here would do it for free," said Will Bybee, president of Bybee Stone Co. "We?re all patriotic people."

Others are also honored to work on the project with Bybee. "We?re pleased to be able to participate with the Bybees on this project," said Ted Benckart, owner of Stone Belt Freight, a trucking company that has hauled Bybee Stone Co.?s products for over 20 years.

Although the Pentagon work is not an unusual project for Bybee in terms of design, Patrick Riley, drafting supervisor at Bybee, said that it is unique in meaning. Having toured the site, Riley takes the project personally. "When you first see that destruction, it gets you in the heart," he said. "I?m all about putting that back together because it is a symbol of all of us, of America, and our national strength."

The excitement that the workers feel is ever apparent in the mill. "Being a part of this project gives me a great sense of pride and accomplishment," said Jeremy Glass, a stonecutter with Bybee. "We are taking part in history and that is something that only a proud few can say." A fellow stone cutter of Glass was equally excited to work on such a historic project. "It was exciting to learn that we would be working on a building of such historical significance as the Pentagon," Tim Dixon said.

The quarried stone from Independent Limestone will arrive at Bybee Stone Co. in blocks, which will then be planed with multi-blade gangsaws, making rough stone that are workable slabs measuring 2 to 3 feet in thickness. From that stone, most pieces are used to make pieces measuring 5 to 10 feet high, 3 to 31⁄2 feet wide and between 4 inches and 1 foot thick. The unique shot sawn cutting process creates a stone that matches that of the original Pentagon work. "The process is really pretty simple comparatively," Riley said. "The short timeframe is a big issue in this case, and since it is completely a renovation job, everything we are creating has to match exactly with what was already there."

Other decorative Indiana limestone work will include dentil work under some windows, several guttaes (shaped like upside down cones), and molded cornice work which extends from one end of the building to the other.

To commemorate the start of the monumental work, Bybee Stone Co. created a monument to America and Hoosier pride. A small ceremony was held at their mill on December 19, 2001. The limestone, inscribed with a quote from President George W. Bush, was signed by all the workers who contributed to the project and by local dignitaries.

Quarried stone arrives at Bybee Stone Co. in block form, and the material is then processed on multi-blade gangsaws, making rough stone that are workable slabs measuring 2 to 3 feet in thickness.


The U.S. Pentagon Restoration

Washington, DC

Architect: George E. Bergstrom

Prime Contractor: John T. McShain Co.

Stone Fabricator: Bybee Stone Co., Inc., Ellettsville, IN

Stone Quarrier: Independent Limestone Co., Bloomington, IN

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