United States Bullion Depository – Fort Knox KY


"In 1935 Congress authorized the transfer of a portion of the property within the Fort Knox Military Reservation in Kentucky to the jurisdiction of the Secretary of the Treasury for the construction thereon of a depository for bullion.

The two-story, basement, and attic building is granite, steel, and concrete supported on a 10-foot thick mat of concrete. Its exterior dimensions are 105 by 121 feet and its height is 42 feet above the first-floor level. It was constructed under the supervision of the Procurement Division of the Treasury Department and upon completion was turned over to the Director of the Mint.

Within the building is a two-level steel and concrete vault, 40 by 60 feet, with 14 compartments on the subterranean level and a like number on the ground level. The vault door weighs more than 20 tons. To open it requires the cooperation of different members of the depository staff, who must dial separate combinations. The construction of the vault casing includes the use of steel plates, steel I beams and steel cylinders laced with hoop bands and encased in concrete. The vault roof, of similar construction, is independent of the bombproof depository roof.

The vault is surrounded by a corridor which is so arranged that the guards are able to observe the space between the top of the vault and the roof. Between the corridor and the outer wall of the depository the space is utilized for the offices of the Chief Clerk in charge, captain of the guard, room for bookkeeping, guards, storeroom, and other purposes. The outer walls of the building are of granite lined with reinforced concrete.

Separated from the building on the outside are four guard boxes, one at each corner. A high steel fence marks the boundaries of the site.

Automatic electric-signal systems and telephones, radios, and microphones are part of the mechanical safeguards in the building. It is near the Fort Knox Army post which provides additional protection. The building is equipped with its own emergency power plant, water system, and other facilities. There are living apartments for the guards and in the basement is a pistol range for practice.

The building cost $431,167. The total project cost was approximately $540,000."
(Short and Brown)

"In 1935 Congress authorized the construction of a depository for gold bullion within the Fort Knox Military Reservation. Within the building is a two-level steel and concrete vault, forty feet by sixty feet. The vault door weighs more than twenty tons."
(Flynn and Polese)

Project Details

Federal Cost Local Cost Total Cost Project #'s

Source notes

C.W. Short and R. Stanley-Brown. "Public Buildings: A Survey of Architecture of Projects Constructed by Federal and Other Governmental Bodies Between the Years 1933 and 1939 with the Assistance of the Public Works Administration." (1939).

"The New Deal: A 75th Anniversary Celebration." Kathryn Flynn with Richard Polese.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

Fort Knox, KY 40121

Location notes:

Coordinates: 37.890736, -85.963174

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