Where do you store more than $300 billion worth of gold? Did you mention the world’s most secure vault, plus more? You are right; that’s where you secure some of the country’s most prized possessions.
Over the years, Fort Knox has maintained its status as one of the world’s most secure vaults. As such, many myths, misconceptions, and even conspiracy theories have arisen. In a world where anyone can say anything, here are some Fort Knox facts to help you separate the chaff from the wheat.
1. What It Is
First opened in 1936, Fort Knox is one of the most secure vaults in the United States and worldwide. It was put in place to serve as the country’s depository for gold but found other additional uses over time. The federal reserve covers an area of 109,000 acres.
The building is named after General Henry Knox, the Chief of Artillery in the Continental Army. He also served as the United State’s first Secretary of War. What started as a recruit training camp is now one of the most guarded places in the world, and rightfully so.
2. Its Walls Are Made From the Hardest Shells
What is the world’s hardest shell? You might have no idea what it is, but if you can tell it’s the one that makes the walls of the great Fort Knox, you are on the right track. To secure the sides of the depository, the builders used 4-foot-thick granite lined with cement, steel, and, of course, fireproof materials.
To put this into perspective, the walls of Fort Knox are so strong, they could withstand a direct hit with an atomic bomb.
3. The Front Door Weighs about 22 Tons
The door to a vault is probably the most vital part. Access through it, and you have your way to riches or power, depending on what’s stored inside. With this in mind, the creators of Fort Knox went a level higher and built a nearly 22-ton door. It is blast-proof, and not one person can get through it.
To get in the vault, several members must key in different combinations. The pass keys change daily, and the staff change duties randomly. Coupled with a strong foundation and tinted windows (fireproof, bulletproof, and blast-proof), there is no chance of unauthorized access.
4. The Original Barrier Has 3 Barriers
Fort Knox is so secure that its original barrier (built in 1937) also has three other walls surrounding it. The first one surrounds the outermost perimeter that touches the highway and roads, of course, fitted with high-grade motion sensors.
The second barrier is a 10-foot electrical fence with more concrete supports, while the third encloses the rectangular region. It has doors secured with surveillance cameras and ever-present guards.
5. Fort Knox’s Location is Its Natural Protection
Built in Kentucky, south of Louisville and North of Elizabeth town, Fort Knox’s location offers more security to the facility. It is far enough inland to avoid attacks by the sea and remote enough to prevent ground duels.
6. It Has Specialized Military Backup
Fort Knox started as a military training camp; there is no way you’d expect it to lack military presence now that it’s worth billions. Specially trained United States Mint Police guard the facility by the second. It is said that over 30,000 soldiers, 300 tanks, helicopters, and personnel carriers are there for safety.
7. Don’t Forget Its Military Grade Defenses
As if military presence was not enough, Fort Knox has state-of-the-art virtual trip wires, biometric ids, flooding tunnels, land mines, and even help from space. These are the standards to rank among the best and most secured vaults.
8. The Vault Stores More Than Gold
First, it was a military training camp, and then it revolutionized into a gold depository facility. Today, Fort Knox is home to more than just these precious gems; it also hosts morphine and other hard drugs, the Declaration of Independence, anthrax powder, and the crown jewels.
Note that most of the items named above are from conspiracy theories. Since Fort Knox is the world’s most secure vault, it would be impossible to tell everything stored there.
9. Fort Knox Attracts Many Conspiracy Theories
Talking of conspiracy theories, it was only a matter of time before theorists had a field day with Fort Knox. From being a storage unit for aliens and assassinated leaders to being a center for hard drugs, there is no shortage of such exciting conversations.
For instance, President Vladimir Putin of Russia once alleged that IMF chief Dominic Strauss-Kahn’s sex crime allegations resulted from discovering the gold in Fort Know was missing.
Putin’s claim of the missing gold was not the first time there were whispers of the same. In fact, the rumors were so strong that on September 23, 1974, Senator Huddleston, along with 12 other members of Congress, toured the facility to ascertain that the gold was present.
10. Some Scenes of James Bond’s “Goldfinger” Were Shot at Fort Knox
To some fun facts now: did you know that some scenes of James Bond’s “Goldfinger” were from the real Fort Knox. Even so, some of the interiors were recreated at Pinewood Studios. There is no way they could have shown the real thing, is there?
Other fun facts include:
- People can stand outside Fort Knox’s gate and take pictures but can’t go inside.
- One gold bar stored in Fort Knox weighs around 27.5 pounds.
- No gold transfer has happened in and out of the facility for many years. Testing of the gems’ purity occurs occasionally, though.