As an amateur historian of World War II (and conflicts before and after) I’ve heard references to the 1973 fire that burned 17 million military personnel records, but there’s been little written about the disaster. WIRED did a good longform piece on the fire and its aftermath, and the lengths to which the government will go to fill in the gaps.

At the time, preservation experts were divided on whether archives should have sprinkler systems, which could malfunction and drown paper records. Yamasaki decided his building would go without. The result, the gleaming glass building on Page Avenue, opened in 1956. More puzzlingly, the architect designed the 728-by-282-foot building—the length of two football fields—with no firewalls in the records storage area to stop the spread of flames.

Date posted: July 19, 2023 | Filed under history, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

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