Opened in 1937 as a depository for gold, Fort Knox in Kentucky is regarded as one of the world’s most secured places. It previously was used as a military training camp. Within its walls lies the wealth of the United States. Construction only cost about $560,000 to complete. It was made with 16,000 cubic feet of granite, 4,200 cubic yards of concrete, as well as 750 tons of reinforcing steel and 670 tons of structural steel. This baby is an impenetrable fortress.
Fort Knox houses 147.3 million ounces of gold. The highest amount of gold ever held there was 649.6 million ounces in 1941. The gold is actually in the shape of a bar, 7 inches in length, and 3 inches wide. Each bar weighs about 400 ounces, which is 27.5 pounds.
So, what else is held there besides gold bullion? Well, I’m glad you asked. Fort Knox has been home to a variety of uber-important historical documents, such as the Magna Carta, during WWII for safekeeping. Two weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were moved to Fort Knox. They were kept in a protective container during the war and sealed with lead. In 1944 they were returned to Washington D.C. Other important items included: Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, three volumes of the Gutenberg Bible, the Articles of Confederation and Lincoln’s second inaugural address.
In addition, the “crown, sword, scepter, orb, and cape of St. Stephen, King of Hungary” were held there before being returned in 1978. In 1945, the U.S. 86th Infantry Division came upon the crown in Mattsee, Austria and it was decided that the Holy Crown (which was considered divine) should be held for safekeeping at Fort Knox, due to the rising threat of the Soviet Union.
There’s also a massive cache of opium and morphine held in the Fort. These were stockpiled during the 1950s, to be used by the U.S. military should the Cold War heat up, and the servicemen needed a steady supply of painkillers. In 1993 the opium was refined into morphine sulphate, and remains under lock and key, so as not to overwhelm the pharmaceutical market.
In 1944, Fort Knox was used as a POW camp for German POWs, some of whom died there and today there are 18 Axis prisoner graves buried in an on-site cemetery.
Mental Floss, USAG Fort Knox