Fort Knox Gold Depository Review
Anyone who has some interest in gold should have heard Fort Knox Gold Depository before. Based in Kentucky, Fort Knox is one of the best known gold depositories in the US.
With many now owning quantities of gold and storing them in fortified depositories across the country, it leads to raised questions about why you can’t store your assets at Fort Knox.
The History of Fort Knox
First built in 1936, Franklin Roosevelt commissioned that America stores their most valuable gold reserves in Fort Knox to protect from potential theft as a result of war or repercussions of the Great Depression. With the first bars of gold entering the fortified walls in 1937, via the most out of all the potentially secure methods that could have been chosen.
Since then, over 143.7 million ounces of gold live inside of the immensely secure vaults. Yet, in times of crisis within America, up to 649.6 million ounces of gold have been securely managed in Fort Knox.
However, when it comes to the facility, no one person truly knows the ins and outs of all the vaults and can accurately map out the facility. But what is known is that the building has huge land coverage of around 109,000 acres and manages to compromise the entirety of this with its security measures and huge fort. It is also opposite the Fort Knox army post, so trying to intrude is certainly not recommended!
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Fort Knox is also operated under the United States Department of Treasury and is solely a government-run facility that has no available access for the public currently. But there have been some isolated incidents where select members of the general public and specific individuals with political power have been able to enter the doors of the building.
If you’re wondering why this was allowed, here is a brief timeline of Fort Knox and the social and political climates that led to these crucial events happening.
- Early 1935: First building plans to make Fort Knox look externally like a general factory.
- Late 1935: Land transferred for the construction to take place, many people probably drove past without realizing what the site was for!
- 1936: Construction was finished and the Department of Treasury was awaiting instructions from the only president to ever enter the facility – Roosevelt.
- 1937: The first gold was posted to Fort Knox! This was then followed by shipments, so the methods of transportation gradually became more robust.
- 1942: Fort Knox protects and preserves the founding documents with a status comparable to that of the gold itself.
- 1974: For a brief period, the facility opened its doors to journalists, yet this was ceased soon after.
- 2017: After forty years, the vault finally opened once again for the second historical visit.
The history of Fort Knox is relatively limited, but it emphasizes the secrecy of the establishment.
The Level of Security
If it wasn’t immediately obvious before, Fort Knox us one of the most heavily guarded establishments on the planet. Being opposite from one of the most important military bases in the nation and having huge barbed wire fences, this is only the start of the extreme measures taken to secure the building.
Housing half of America’s most valuable gold assets is no easy feat, meaning that Fort Knox has to retain excessive security measures in order to maintain the zero attempts made to try and seize entry into the building.
Out of any depository in the world, Fort Knox is probably one of the only ones still standing without any previous breaches of security on the building, what’s the point in trying to steal gold from the most heavily armed depository in the world anyways?
The walls built from near-indestructible concrete-lined granite with steel rods maintaining the strength of the structure. Yet this isn’t all the measures Fort Knox has.
The treasury has released previously that within the walls of the vault, state-of-the-art modern ‘protective devices’ are used to maintain the high level of security, however, they have not released the nature of the technology used thus sparking conspiracy.
For those of us who enjoy divulging on the occasional conspiracy theory, it has been suggested that the vault is smothered in landmines and laser tripped so that an excess of machine-gun fire can rain down on whatever has breached the laser trip which is a terrifyingly brilliant security measure.
However, one thing the Treasury isn’t shrouding in secrecy is the fact that the perimeter of the building is guarded by sentry’s wielding their guns from high security towers and monitoring surveillance measures to preserve the security. It’s pretty obvious as to why intruders have stayed away from Fort Knox.
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Fort Knox is made up of various above ground and subterranean vaults that are famously known for being encased in steel plates and concrete cylinders to fortify the strength. This is to prevent potential underground drilling operations and to maximize the security of the reserves withheld.
With a vault door automatically set with a 100-hour time lock, it comes as no surprise that various staff is all allocated specific tasks that help open the main vaults. It is often rumored that no single member of staff has the full knowledge as to how to open the vault and that they are forbidden from telling others about what they know, including their colleagues.
So if you were ever hoping for the key to unlocking Fort Knox’s riches to be revealed, your hopes may be dashed.
A Bit More Into the Gold
Featured in the critically acclaimed James Bond film ‘Goldfinger’, Fort Knox has always had an emphasis placed on the immense volume of the precious metal within their walls. Unlike similar establishments, Fort Knox does not facilitate the storage of silver or platinum and focuses solely on the value of gold as a more precious asset.
This is due to how gold determines international trade and overall just generates huge revenue. However, the gold here was once what determined the value of the dollar, but in 1971, the dollar was removed from the gold standard.
With the gold reserves there maintaining an average value at a hefty $190 billion, it is unsurprising that the security measures are so authoritarian. But as mentioned previously, Fort Knox has always been a breeding ground for conspiracists who debate the existence of the gold – yet with such extensive measures and immense funding? It is obvious that gold is present.
The Only Exception to the Gold Standard
I know we just mentioned that gold is the only kept asset at Fort Knox, but there have been some notable exceptions. In 1939, Fort Knox protected one of the first edition versions of the Magna Carta, which was a declaration of human rights created in 1215 created in the UK.
It was shipped over to the states for an exhibition at the world-renowned New York World’s Fair. So between the arrival date and the fair, it was securely stored within the fortress and for a subsequent eight years, the Magna Carta was in residence at Fort Knox.
Yet as the second world war arrived, the American government housed many valuable documents here, including:
- Original volumes of the ‘Declaration of Independence’.
- Original copies of the ‘Bill of Rights’.
- The original edition of the ‘U.S constitution’.
The storage facilities at Fort Knox guarded these pieces until 1944 when America appeared to be a lesser target for strikes and direct invasions. The pieces were then returned to their rightful home in Washington DC.
However, the war also brought about the protection of Hungary’s crown jewels, to stop King Coleman’s (who reigned from 1095 to 1116) prized possessions from being swept away by either the Nazis or the Soviets. It wasn’t until 1978 when the U.S secretary of state, Cyrus Vance, delegated the jewels back to Hungary under official regulation.
So, it is evident that Fort Knox is truly the optimal safehouse for any important riches and valuable items.
What is perhaps most shocking, is the fact that Fort Knox has been a safe haven for pharmaceuticals during the Cold War. As the Cubans threatened missile strikes and international superpower tensions were rising the American government ordered that the country stock up on necessary medicines.
With the threat of another world war, the need for drugs such as morphine sulfate became essential. So in order to protect their supplies, the government ordered that the drugs be sectioned within Fort Knox as the international supply of pharmaceutical opiates dwindled with international tensions.
After the Cold War tensions reduced in 1955, the government began to redevelop the opiates into pure morphine which was completed in 1993. So the government still has a huge store of morphine prepared for any wartime catastrophe that requires urgent medical care across the nation.
Fort Knox’s Reputation
‘Fort Knox’ has been coined as a term denoting safety and security across America, suggesting that the reputation of the depository precedes itself. Across the world, people know Fort Knox as an optimal security facility that houses America’s riches and valuables for later use.
Fort Knox has always been culturally associated with security, as referenced by Elizabeth Warren during the 2020 election when discussing how ‘elections should be as secure as Fort Knox’. This emphasizes the immense respect for the depository and shows how it sets the standard for gold depositories across the globe.
It is also the focal point in famous films and video games, as mentioned before in the film ‘Goldfinger’. With each attempt to rob the depository displayed in the media, there is never a depiction where the perpetrator gets away without immediate arrest and prosecution.
This relates to the reality of the security measures there – so if you ever have any qualms about the security of the operation, the representation in films is true to life.
The Bottom Line
Fort Knox is often an understated asset to the American government that has provided both national and international protection to valuables and gold. What is the predominant depository throughout the entire country, is by far the most notorious for the unmatched security systems and the immensity of the building itself?
Whilst it is one of the only gold depositories in the nation that prohibits the general public from safely putting their gold away, it is understandable as to why. For those of you whose hopes of boasting that your gold is preserved in Fort Knox, have been ruined, there are a multitude of other depositories throughout the country that can be your gold’s safe haven.
Fundamentally, Fort Knox is unlike any other gold depository in the world and will forever go down in history. Whether you yourself are American or from the other side of the world, there are very few who don’t know of the unattainable riches within Fort Knox.