In 1917, when the United States entered the First World War, the Army decided a new artillery range was needed. The original plan was to construct the range at West Point in New York. However, when the federal government acquired land in Bullitt, Hardin, and Meade counties, the plans were moved to Kentucky. Camp Knox was established in 1918. The namesake, Major General Henry Knox, served during the American Revolutionary War and was the first Secretary of War for the United States government. In 1932, Fort Knox became a permanent military base, and in 1936 a bomb proof structure, the Bullion Depository, was built to house the nation’s gold reserves. During World War II, the Bullion Depository housed the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Magna Carta, and the Gettysburg Address. Following the War, 18 Prisoners of War were buried at Fort Knox.
Since 1940, Fort Knox has served as the U.S. Army Armor Headquarters and all armored U.S. army soldiers serve at Fort Knox at least once during their enlistment. Fort Knox was also important during the 1990 Gulf War, as its employees helped research the Army’s AirLand Battle Doctrine that was executed successfully during the conflict.
Presently, Fort Knox houses the Human Resource Center of Excellence for the Army, which assists in the development and training of military installations. Fort Knox also has the Patton Museum of Calvary and Armor; the museum is dedicated to preserving weapons from the Civil War.
Marker #1869 was dedicated in 1990 by the Kentucky Historical Society. It reads: Camp Knox. Established in 1918 as artillery range and named for Major General Henry Knox, who organized artillery during the Revolutionary War. Mechanized cavalry training began in 1931. Redesignated Fort Knox in January 1932. Armored Force established in 1940. Millions have trained here in cavalry and armor, serving in World War II, the Cold War, Korea, and Vietnam.