Fort Knox is officially known as the “United States Bullion Depository.” It is, in fact, a US Army base. However, most people think of Fort Knox in terms of the official bullion depository. Fort Knox, then, is a location where the United States government stores its gold reserves. Fort Knox has an interesting history. It was constructed in 1936. It is located in the state of Kentucky, at Fort Knox. It is located in the eastern United States.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt built the bullion depository as part of his “New Deal” policies. The “New Deal” was a set of programs launched by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s to assist the United States in recovering from the Great Depression, which began in 1929 and lasted until the start of World War II. Beginning with the 1929 stock market crash, the United States economy entered a miserable life known as “The Great Depression” during the 1930s. President Roosevelt’s New Deal programs included the construction of things for the government known as “public works projects.” The construction of the Fort Knox bullion depository was one of Roosevelt’s major public works projects. The construction began in 1936 and was completed in 1937. The first gold was moved to Fort Knox at that time.
Roosevelt had another motivation for constructing the bullion depository. He wanted Americans to believe that the US government was powerful. He believed that if Americans knew the government had a large supply of gold, they would have more faith in the government. In some ways, Roosevelt had a practical reason for constructing this depository. One of his economic policies required banks to hand over their gold to the US government in exchange for a piece of paper called a certificate. The United States needed a place to store all of that gold, and Roosevelt chose Fort Knox as the location. Fort Knox’s bullion depository was designed to be a “impregnable fortress.” The idea here, of course, is that you need a secure place to store gold.
The depository building is a two-story, two-level steel and concrete structure. The “vault,” or room where the gold and money are kept, is about 12 meters by 18 meters, or 40 feet by 60 feet, and is guarded by a door that weighs about 20 tons, or the weight of ten cars. When Fort Knox was constructed, the government declared it to be the most secure, or safest, location in the country.
Today, the Fort Knox bullion depository holds approximately 148 million ounces of gold. That equates to approximately 4500 metric tons. It has the second largest gold holding in the United States. Surprisingly, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has the largest gold holding. Because Fort Knox has always been regarded as a secure location, the American government uses it to store items other than gold. During World War II, for example, the United States government relocated some vital documents to Fort Knox to protect them in the event that Washington, D.C. was attacked. The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and Abraham Lincoln’s most famous speech, the Gettysburg Address, were among the documents.
During World War II, other countries also kept items at Fort Knox to keep them safe. Fort Knox housed one of England’s four copies of the Magna Carta. It was actually on display at the New York World’s Fair in 1939. When the war broke out, it was kept in the United States and transported to Fort Knox for safety. Fort Knox also housed Saint Stephen of Hungary’s crown. It was given to the United States government to keep safe during that time period. The bullion depository is not accessible to the general public. You cannot visit Fort Knox to see the gold. The United States Mint, which is part of the Department of the Treasury, creates the coins and bills we use as currency.