Have you ever heard the expression “as secure as Fort Knox?” It means something has the highest level of protection. Maybe you already know that Fort Knox is a real place in Kentucky. But did you know the real Fort Knox is a United States Mint facility?
Because of its advanced security system, much about Fort Knox remains a mystery. Here are some fun facts to let you in on a little of what goes on behind its heavily-guarded doors.
Facts about Fort Knox
- Fort Knox was built in 1935 as a bullion depository, meant to hold large quantities of gold for the United States. It’s located 30 miles southwest of Louisville, adjacent to the United States Army Garrison Fort Knox.
- About half of the Treasury’s stored gold (as well as valuables of other federal agencies) is kept at Fort Knox. In fact, the vault at Fort Knox holds 5,000 tons of gold bullion!
- The first gold arrived at Fort Knox in early 1937…by mail! The gold was too heavy to fly in, so it was mailed there by train through the Post Office Department, today’s United States Postal Service.
- The gold in the depository is in the form of standard U.S. Mint bars of almost pure gold, or coin bars resulting from the melting of gold coins.
- Fort Knox is protected by the United States Mint Police, and the officers are hand-selected by the U.S. Mint Headquarters in Washington. Watch this video to see how they train!
- To protect them from any possible danger during World War II, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights were secretly stored in protective vaults at Fort Knox. In 1944, the historic documents returned to Washington, D.C. when an attack on U.S. soil was deemed unlikely.
- The actual structure and content of the facility is known by only a few, and no one person knows all the procedures to open the vault.
- No visitors are permitted into the facility and only one president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and one Congressional delegation in 1974, have been inside the vault.
To learn more about the history of Fort Knox, visit our Inside the Mint page.