A vast amount of the United States gold reserves is stored in the vault of the United States Bullion Depository at Fort Knox. It is one of six facilities under the supervision of the director of the United States Mint, an official of the United States Department of the Treasury. Located 30 miles southwest of Louisville, Kentucky, adjacent to the Fort Knox military reservation, the depository is home to a large portion of the United States’ gold bullion, with the balance stored in the Philadelphia Mint, Denver Mint, West Point Mint and San Francisco Mint.
Construction of the U.S. Bullion Depository at Fort Knox was completed in December 1936, at a cost of $560,000. The gold was moved to the depository in 1937 by rail, through the United States Postal Service. This was the only method of providing insurance for the gold at the time.
Today, the facility is equipped with state-of-the-art security systems and the latest technological advancements. The depository is headed by an officer in charge who is responsible for ensuring the security of the bullion. The facility is protected by a group of federal police officers, who are hand-selected by the U.S. Mint Headquarters in Washington, D.C. These officers must complete a rigorous training program at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia, and pass a thorough background investigation.
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. The bars are similar in size to an ordinary brick, measuring 7 inches in length, 3 1/2 inches in width and 1 3/4 inches in thickness. These fine gold bars contain approximately 400 troy ounces of pure gold.
The depository, commonly referred to as the “Gold Vault,” has undergone many changes during its 78-year history. The security of the depository has reached legendary status with its mystique and mythical folklore. The actual structure of and content in 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. Perhaps the most advanced security system the depository has to offer is its secrecy. Cloaked in mystery, the United States Bullion Depository has established itself as the most secure facility in the world and earned the title “As Secure as Fort Knox.”