Fort Knox is also known as the United States Bullion Depository. It is basically a fortified vault building located right next to the US Army and operated by the US Department of Treasury. But do you know who guards the gold at Fort Knox?
The United States Mint Police guard the gold reserve at Fort Knox. The facility has its own emergency electricity and water supply. And the land surrounding the place is a minefield.
When Was Fort Knox Built?
Fort Knox was established in 1918 as Camp Knox. The building was named after Major General Henry Knox, who was the first US secretary of war. It officially became a military post in 1932.
The US Bullion Depository built a sold square bombproof structure with mechanical protective devices to ensure maximum security in 1936. This space was used to hold the bulk of the United States’ gold reserves. During the Second World War, the gold vault was used as a repository for the original copy of the US Constitution, Declaration of Independence, the Magna Carta, and the initial draft of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. And by 1940, Fort Knox was used as the US Army Amor Headquarters. (Source: Britannica)
How Much Gold is in Fort Knox?
Fort Knox literally holds tons of gold, currently housing 147.3 million ounces of gold. According to the US government, the bullion has a book value of $6.22 billion. This value, however, is based on a fixed rate that officials set way back in 1973. If we base it on the current market value of gold, there could be an estimated amount of $190 billion.
Most of the gold in the vault is in the form of 27-pound bars, while the rest are in gold coins. The point of having this much gold was to provide a cushion of the US currency, but the dollar was taken off the gold standard in 1971. With this in mind, you might wonder why the US still holds onto its gold stash, and the reason is simple – just in case it is needed.
Conspiracy theorists have insisted that the government secretly sold the gold in the vault, and the bars that are currently in there are actually tungsten bricks that are pained to look like gold. (Source: MoneyWise)
Can Outsiders See the Gold?
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin led a visit for outsiders to take a peek at the gold reserves within Fort Knox back in 2017. He was accompanied by the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The pair were photographed holding the gold bars. Before this, the last time the Fort Knox vault was opened to civilians was in 1974 when a congressional delegation and a few journalists got to look at the gold.
There was only one US President who got inside – President Franklin Roosevelt. He commissioned the construction of Fort Knox in the mid-30s. This was because the US Treasury was worried that the US gold reserves were not safe from enemies. Later on, it was confirmed that Roosevelt was the only US President who set foot inside the vault’s titanic walls. He inspected the vault in 1943, and then about seven years later, the construction was complete. (Source: MoneyWise)