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A Peek Inside Fort Knox: The Most Heavily Guarded Military Base
Do we know all of what’s inside Fort Knox? From books, history classes, and TV shows, most Americans know Fort Knox was built to store massive deposits of gold. It is the most heavily guarded military base and one of the most secure places in the world. Aside from what we know of its gold reserves, Fort Knox is a mystery that few have ever seen.
Inside Fort Knox: Restricted Access
Fort Knox, Kentucky, is a 109,000-acre military base that encompasses the United States federal gold reserve and the Fort Knox Human Resource Center of Excellence. The resource hub is a complex that houses ~4,000 civilian and military personnel.
It’s snuggled right in between Kentucky’s largest and busiest city of Louisville and the historic Elizabethtown. What makes this base so famous is the United States Bullion Depository, otherwise known as the impenetrable vault of Fort Knox.
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You’re not the only one curious as to what is inside of Fort Knox. The vicinity is off-limits to visitors, and even the president of the United States has limitations. President Franklin Roosevelt has gone down in history as the only president to have ever been allowed entry into Fort Knox back in 1943.
The inner structures are undisclosed, but we can tell you that the building is made up of over 16,000 cubic feet of granite, 4,200 cubic yards of concrete, 750 tons of reinforced steel, and 670 tons of structural steel.
The building’s integrity is unimaginable, yet even greater security measures are in place. Surrounding its exterior are two separate electric fences bounded by another thick concrete barrier. Searchlights lie above the innermost fence, and the security, which costs the government $5 million per year, is far from sparse.
It’s safe to say you’re not likely to stop in for a peek, but visitors are allowed to stand outside the gate of Fort Knox and take pictures. In searching for pictures inside Fort Knox’s vault, you’ll unfortunately discover many misleading photos of European bank vaults. There are, however, a few confirmed photographs circling the web, like the 1974 photo of former Mint Director Mary Brooks inside Fort Knox’s gold vault.
Fort Knox Gold Vault
The extensive security is not simply for decoration. Fort Knox still serves its original purpose, holding over 140 million ounces of gold, which is just over half of the U.S. Treasury’s stored bullion. If you’re wondering how many U.S. dollars that translates to today, it’s almost $300 billion. One gold bar inside of Fort Knox weighs 27.5 pounds and, uniform to the U.S. Mint standards, is 7 inches long and 3.5 inches wide.
The front door to the vault weighs over 20 tons, and it is said that no one person knows its combination. Speculation of trip wires, landmines, and a satellite defense system has grown over the years but has never been confirmed. Still, the ultimate safe is protected by 27 inches of thick concrete and steel and is known to be able to withstand an atomic bomb.
History Pieces Inside Fort Knox
The U.S. government has made use of Fort Knox’s tight defenses for more than just gold. The Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence were all collected and stored inside Fort Knox for safety during WW2. Fort Knox has also been home to the Magna Carta and the cape of the King of Hungary in 1978.
It has not only kept history but also made history four years prior in 1974, when it opened its doors to a group of journalists and members of Congress. Before that day, President Roosevelt was the only non-authorized personnel to step foot inside Fort Knox and inspect the vault. Since then, only treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin, Governor Matt Bevin, and a handful of other Congress members visited the vault in 2017.
Except for these honored journalists and elected officials, the public may never see the inside of Fort Knox. So, as the inner workings of the base are kept secret, the mysteries of Fort Knox will continue to live on.
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