Were you aware that the United States government possesses a significant amount of gold? It’s true! However, where is it located? It is kept at a highly secure site in Kentucky. Where exactly? Fort Knox, of course!
Fort Knox is an army base in the United States that occupies 109,000 acres in the northern part of Kentucky. Its gold vault is surrounded by thick granite walls and topped with a roof that is resistant to bombs. So, how much gold is stored inside? A substantial amount!
The Federal Reserve reports that approximately 147.3 million ounces of gold bricks, known as bullion, are housed within Fort Knox’s secure vault (also referred to as the United States Bullion Depository).
This large amount of gold must be kept in a highly secure location. So, just how secure is Fort Knox? Very secure! Along with its granite walls and bombproof roof, Fort Knox is enclosed by fences, equipped with multiple alarms, and guarded by Apache helicopter gunships.
The construction of Fort Knox was completed by the U.S. Army in December 1936. Starting in January 1937, the gold was transported to Fort Knox via train and protected by a brigade from the U.S. Cavalry. Since then, Fort Knox has been mostly off-limits to the general public!
However, the gold stored at Fort Knox is no longer a vital part of our economy. While it used to serve as a backup to our currency system, the U.S. abandoned the gold standard in 1971.
Today, the gold at Fort Knox is simply an asset of the Federal Reserve and not a crucial component of our monetary system.
Nevertheless, gold is not the only valuable item that has been stored at Fort Knox. In the past, it has been used to house the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, the Articles of Confederation, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, the Gutenberg Bible, and the Magna Carta.
The gold stored at Fort Knox accounts for approximately 2.5% of all the gold ever refined throughout history. Despite holding such a substantial amount of gold, Fort Knox is still only the second largest gold depository in the United States. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, located in Manhattan, possesses an underground vault that holds 224.1 million ounces of gold!
Give It a Try
Are you interested in learning more about Fort Knox? Make sure to explore the following activities with a friend or family member:
Today we have a task for you. Your job is to clean out the vault at Fort Knox in order to make space for more valuable treasures. You are free to relocate the gold wherever you please. Stack it in the basement or put it in a closet – it’s up to you. The main objective is to create enough space. Once you have made room, you can decide what to put in the vault. What do you consider valuable? Which priceless items exist in the world that you would want to protect? Perhaps the Mona Lisa, another work of art, a species, a place, or a museum? Size is not a concern, as Fort Knox is a magical place that can accommodate anything you wish to safeguard. Use your imagination and think about what you value and would protect if given the opportunity. Feel free to share your thoughts with your friends and family members.
Now, let’s talk about the value of all the gold in Fort Knox. In today’s Wonder of the Day, we provided an estimate, but we want you to do some math to determine its exact worth today. To do this, you will need to refer to the financial news online to find out the current price of gold on the open market. Then, use that figure to calculate the value of all the gold in Fort Knox. Once you have completed this task, repeat the same calculations to find out the worth of the gold in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Are you up for a challenge? Put your mathematical skills to the test by solving some algebra problems. Don’t hesitate to seek assistance from a teacher or family member if needed. Based on what you learned in today’s Wonder of the Day, calculate the percentage of all the gold ever refined throughout history that is stored at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in Manhattan. Start by estimating the total amount of gold that has been refined over history, using the information about Fort Knox provided in today’s Wonder of the Day. Once you have completed this calculation, determine the percentage of all the refined gold stored in Fort Knox and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York combined.
Below are the sources of information for this Wonder: