A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
“Futons are the sporks of the furniture world” (10/19)
“A microwave is an easy bake oven for adults” (10/19)
“What do you call a cat that eats lemons?"/"A sourpuss.” (10/19)
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Entry from December 05, 2006
Roundagon (Hilton Austin Airport nickname)

"Roundagon” is the nickname of a round building at the Bergstrom Air Force Base, built in the late 1960s. “Roundagon” is a borrowing from Washington’s “Pentagon” building.

In 2001, the “Roundagon” was remodeled into a Hilton hotel at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.


City of Austin
Historic marker unveiled at ‘Roundagon’ on Hilton Austin Airport Hotel’s fifth anniversary
For immediate release
Jan. 3, 2006

The historic marker for the Del Valle Army Air Base/Bergstrom Air Force Base will be unveiled at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2006, at the Hilton Austin Airport, 9515 New Airport Drive.

The date marks the fifth anniversary of the Hilton.

Bernie Larson, a Tech Sergeant stationed at the base from December 1942 to early 1945, recalled the mission of the base’s early days.

“We trained pilots, radio operators and crew chiefs who went all over the world to serve. Some of those people went on to the Normandy invasion, or wherever they needed paratrooper transportation and supplies,” said Larson who plans to be at the unveiling. “I was a crew chief in the mechanical end keeping the airplanes in good shape. We kept them flying and we had a good record.”

The marker is the second in a special series of Texas Historical Commission plaques commemorating World War II military service in Texas. It recognizes the establishment of the Army Air Corps in the Del Valle Community following the U.S. entry into World War II.

The marker goes on to note the renaming of the facility to honor Capt. John August Earl Bergstrom, Austin’s first casualty of the war. For 50-plus years, the base served as part of both the Strategic Air Command and the Tactical Air Command for the United States Air Force.

The hotel is among the last significant remnants from Bergstrom’s air base days. Built in the late ‘60s and nicknamed the “Roundagon,” it became the headquarters for the 12th Air Force.

The “Roundagon” was remodeled into the Hilton Austin Airport as part of the conversion of the base into Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. The hotel celebrates its fifth anniversary in conjunction with the unveiling of the historic marker and will host a reception following the unveiling ceremony.

“It is evident that this building has touched many lives. Visitors and guests often come in and share memories of the ‘Roundagon,’” said Gary Steffen, General Manager of the Hilton. “The airport and this hotel are excellent examples of the positive outcome possible when military base closings are met with creative, strategic planning. We are pleased to have remained an important part of the community and are very proud that the Hilton Hotel is the site of this historic marker.”

A performance by the Del Valle Independent School District band and choir will start the event. The Del Valle Army Air Base/Bergstrom Air Force Base Historic Marker unveiling and Hilton Austin Airport fifth anniversary celebration is hosted by the City of Austin Aviation Department, Hilton Austin Airport, and the Travis County Historical Commission.

News 8 Austin
Historical marker for Bergstrom Air Force Base
1/10/2006 2:57 PM
By: News 8 Austin Staff

A new historical marker commemorates military service in Central Texas during World War II.

Veterans, city officials and students helped unveil the plaque this morning outside the Hilton at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

It recognizes the Army Air Corps, which was set up in Del Valle right after the start of the war.

In 1943 it was renamed Bergstrom Air Force Base. It remained an active base for more than 50 years before it converted to Austin’s airport.

The Hilton Hotel on the grounds is one of the last remaining buildings from those days past. The building is nicknamed “The Round-agon” a play on the federal “pentagon” and for it’s round shape.

Bergstrom Air Base was named for Capt. August Earl Bergstrom, Austin’s first casualty of World War II.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Tuesday, December 05, 2006 • Permalink