“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near West Point in Hardin County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)

Fort Knox, Kentucky

Fort Knox, Kentucky Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Bosse, July 5, 2018
1. Fort Knox, Kentucky Marker
Inscription.  Fort Knox is one of the Army’s major installations. Run by the Army’s Installation Management Agency, it is home to several major commands including the United States Army Armor School and Center and United States Army Recruiting Command, both subordinate commands of United States Army Training and Doctrine Command. The installation’s primary mission is to train soldiers to fill the Army’s Armor and Cavalry force. The Armor school is the rock on which the Armor Center mission is built. Its staff, over 109,000 acres and spans over 170 square miles in Hardin, Meade and Bullitt Counties. It is the seventh largest urban community in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, with a day-time population of approximately 33,000. Fort Knox is adjacent to the city of Radcliff, 15 miles north of Elizabethtown, and approximately 30 miles south of Louisville. It is named after Major General Henry Knox, Chief of Artillery for the Continental Army during the American Revolution, and later the first Secretary of War. In the years following the establishment of Camp Knox in 1918, Fort Knox played, and continues to play, a proud role as American’s “Home of the Armor
Paid Advertisement
Click on the ad for more information.
Please report objectionable advertising to the Editor.
Click or scan to see
this page online
and Cavalry”.

1903 – A series of military maneuvers were held in West Point and communities south of that town. The temporary headquarters was named Camp Young. The area was favored by the Army so much that West Point was considered for a permanent Army site for training. By the spring of 1904, however, West Point had failed to make the list for proposed new Army sites.

1918 – It was 1918 before the Army returned to the area with the intention of creating a permanent Army post. With United States involvement in World War I, it was deemed necessary to open additional training facilities for the military. Land was leased at first then purchased.

According to the Construction Quartermaster, Major W. H. Radcliffe, the location of Camp Knox was chosen for several reasons: “It is near the center of population of the United States. It is near enough a large city to share in the benefits of a city but far enough away to eliminate most of the disadvantages. It is on high, well drained land and is a healthy site. It is on terrain which is broken and varied enough make it ideal for artillery practice and the study of gases, and it is practically at the intersection of several national highways by means of which a rapid overland movement could be made to any part of the country.

Major Radcliffe arrived in the small village
Fort Knox, Kentucky Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Bosse, July 5, 2018
2. Fort Knox, Kentucky Marker
of Stithton on July 26, 1918. The initial construction plan for Camp Knox was to accommodate a six-brigade artillery training camp along with the associated support areas. The original authorizations called for housing to be made for 60,000 men and 27,000 animals. The camp would consist of six brigades of field artillery (war strength), a Division headquarters, a firing center, two labor battalions, a veterinary hospital, a remount depot, and two balloon companies (used for spotting artillery and calling for fires). In addition, there would be an officer training school of 10,000 men, an aerial squadron, miniature range, an artillery park (motor pool), quartermaster’s depot, ordnance depot, and a hospital with 2500 beds. Buildings were wood frame, mast built from standard mobilization plans provided by the Quartermaster. Some of the originally constructed warehouses still stand on Fort Knox today.

1922 – the Army’s force was reduced in the early 1920s, and it was deemed necessary to close the post as a permanent installation in 1922. Although closed by use of the regular Army, Camp Knox remained an active training center for Army programs. Military training was continued by the National Guard and Army Reserve, and the 5th Corps Area Civilian Military Training Camp students.

1925 – Between 1925 and 1928, the area was designated as Camp Henry Knox
Fort Knox, Kentucky Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Bosse, July 5, 2018
3. Fort Knox, Kentucky Marker
National Forest until two infantry companies were assigned to the post.

1929 – As a result of lessons learned in World War I with the use of tracked and wheeled vehicles, the War Department creates the mechanized force.

1931 – Upon the recommendation of Lt. Col. Adna R. Chaffee Jr. (the Father of Armor and Cavalry) and Col. Daniel Van Vorrhis, Camp Knox was chosen to be the new headquarters for the Mechanized Cavalry. The size and terrain of Camp Knox made this a suitable area for such training.

1932 – On January 1, 1932, Camp Knox was made a permanent installation once again and since then has been known as Fort Knox. Two weeks later, the 1st Cavalry Regiment, the Army’s oldest mounted unit, arrived at Fort Knox and exchanged horses for armored combat cars.

1933 – Fort Knox becomes an induction center for the Fifth Corps Area Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Train loads of men were sent to Fort Knox from West Virginia, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. CCC members spent about two weeks here receiving their shots, clothing and training. Most were then sent off to other camps for work projects. Eight camps remained at Fort Knox between 1934 and 1942. These camps included an African-American military veterans camp, four African-American youth camps, two white youth camps, and one white military veteran’s camp. Works
Plaque at base of Tank image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Bosse, July 5, 2018
4. Plaque at base of Tank
Progress Administration (WPA) camps also performed work at Fort Knox. One of the most notable buildings constructed at Fort Knox, the Water Filtration Plant, wasa WPA project.

The growth of mechanized cavalry in the 1930s created the need to construct support facilities and housing at Fort Knox, Kentucky. The main cantonment was constructed between 1933 and 1940 (surrounding Brooks Parade Field). Most of the buildings were constructed from standardized plans created by the Army Quartermaster Corps. The architecture and planning of this area is typical of permanent Army posts in the years before World War II. The buildings were designed in a Georgian Colonial Revival styole and were primarily constructed with red brick.

1936 – The U.S. Bullion Depository was constructed on property set aside by Fort Knox. The Director of the Mint, U.S. Treasury, was placed in charge of the Depository. It received its first shipment of gold in 1937 under the security of the 7th Cavalry Brigade. In additional to gold, the Depository has stored important documents including the Declaration of independence, The United States Constitution, the Articles of Confederation, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, Lincoln’s second inaugural address, three volumes of the Gutenberg Bible, and the Magna Charta.

1938 – Construction of Godman Army Air Field begins. As part of
Paid Advertisement
Click on the ad for more information.
Please report objectionable advertising to the Editor.
a nation wide tour of army posts, government officials are given a tour of Fort Knox by Brigadier General Daniel Van Voorhis on January 22. The visitors include Marvin Hunter McIntyre (Secretary to the President), Senators Joseph F. Guffey, Matthew M. Neely, Lewis B. Schwellenback (Lewis Baxter), and future President of the United States, Harry S. Truman.

1939 – World War ii begins in Europe with Germany’s invasion of Poland.

1940 – In partial response to the war in Europe, the Army establishes the Armored Force on July 10, 1940 headquartered in Fort Knox. As a result of the Selective Service program, thousands of new military personnel come to Fort Knox. With almost 1000 buildings, Fort Knox is still forced to accommodate the new soldiers in tent cities. A new construction boom occurred to build facilities to hold the large numbers of men arriving. As a result of the mobilization, almost 3,000 additional buildings were constructed during World War II.

1941 – With the Japanese attack on Pearl harbor, Hawaii, The United States of America enters World War II. On December 8, PFC Robert H. Brooks is killed during an aerial assault on the island of Luzan and became the first World War II casualty of the Armored Force. The main parade ground at Fort Knox was dedicated in his name.

1941–42 – Fort Knox purchases additional land in Hardin, Meade, and Bullitt Counties. Construction of more facilities continues on post during wartime expansion.

1942 – The War Department picks Fort Knox as the site for its experiments involving the LST (Landing Ship Tank). The “LST” building is constructed in April from a non-standard plan and designed by the U.S. navy specifically to resemble the --- deck of the Landing Ship Tank transport. After the navy completed its experiments, the building served as classrooms for Fort Knox. Today the building is used as an exhibit hall for armored vehicles in the Patton Museum’s collection and is located along Eisenhower Avenue.

1943 – The “Armored Force School” is designated the “Armored School”. On April 22, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt visits Fort Knox.

1944 – In February, Italian prisoners of war (POWs) are brought to Fort Knox’s Axis Prisoners of War Camp. German POWs, many who are former members of the Army Korps arrive later that spring. The Camp remains in existence until June 1946. POWs work on the post maintaining ----------- known, but identifiable tale-tale signs that remain marking their efforts.

1945 – On May 7, Germany surrenders to the Allies. On September 2, Japan surrenders to the Allies, bringing an end to years of world war.

1947 – On 15 July, the replacement center at Fort Knox, Kentucky was named the 3rd Armored Division. Between 1947 and 1956, more than ---- soldiers were trained by the division before being sent to permanent stations and units.

1948 – The current Armored ---- crest is approved. This act reflected the permanency of an armor training institution.

1949 – The Patton Museum opens in a wooden World War II mobilization building.

1950 – Under the Army Reorganization Act, cavalry and armor are joined to form a new Armor branch.

1950-53 – The Korean War. The United States participates in this conflict between Communist and non-Communist forces in Korea. After years of heavy casualties, a cease fire ensues at the 38th parallel, where it remains to this day. During this time, the Army begins production of the M48 “Patton” tank. Hastened by Cold War tensions, the new tank is fielded in 1953. The M48 carried a 90 mm gun and still exists in Army’s of some nations even today.

1953-1954 – numerous permanent buildings, including many “hammerhead barracks”, are constructed on post to house and facilitate an ever expanding training mission. Additional land purchased in Bullitt County.

1957 - The Army adopts the Combat Arms Regimental System (CARS). This system enables perpetuation of regimental lineage and honors despite reorganizations within combat elements and a trend away from traditional armor and cavalry regimental structures that began in World War II. During the last half of the 1950s, testing is conducted at Fort Knox on an improved version of M48 tank. First known as the XM60 for trial's purposes, the first M60 tanks are put into the field by 1960 and was the primary tank that stood watch on the frontiers of the Iron Curtain in Eastern Europe. The United States Army found the tank to be too heavy for use in the future conflict in Southeast Asia. The M60 carried a 90 mm gun which was later upgraded to a 105 mm gun.

1964 - 1975 - U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia (Vietnam) gradually increases over of period of years beginning in the 1950s. Initial involvement began with non-combatant military advisors for the South Vietnamese army and phased into the introduction of regular combat troops in 1965. Thousands of new soldiers are instructed at Fort Knox before going to Vietnam. By the late 1960s, more than one million trainees had completed on or more training programs in the Fort Knox Training Center since its inception in 1940.

1965 - In May, Company D, 16th Armor deploys to Vietnam. Company D 16th Armor was an airborne anti-tank unit and the first Armor unit to deploy to Vietnam.

1968 - The 194th Separate Armor Brigade is stationed at Fort Knox ensuring a Forces Command (FORSCOM) and war-fighting presence on Fort Knox. After 30 years at Fort Knox, the 194th Separate Armor Brigade was deactivated in 1995, following Desert Shield / Desert Storm.

1972 - Main Battle Tank Task Force convenes at Fort Knox. This task force had the responsibility for establishing the characteristics of a new tank for the Army. Development of the M1 "Abrams" tank begins. The Patton Museum moves to a new, permanent location near Chaffee Gate, the main gate at that time.

1978 - The first M1 "Abrams" tank rolls off the assembly line and is test for the next two years. The M1 carried a 105 mm gun and was a quantum leap in technology for the Armor force.

1980 - The M1 "Abrams" tank enters full production. The 1st Armored Brigade at Fort Knox is the first unit on post to receive the new tank. The M1 carried a 105 mm gun.

1981 - The publication of operational concept for Air Land Battle, built around several new weapons systems, the M1 being one of those systems, marks the doctrinal dimension to major modernization efforts of 1980s Army of Excellence. The Army Chief of Staff General E.C. Meyer, approves the High Technology Light Division mission. This action marked the effective start point to develop a division more deployable than current heavy forces and more lethal and survivable than existent light divisions through application of new and emerging technologies.

1985 - The M1A1 tank is introduced. Features include an upgrade to a 120 mm gun, a CO2 laser range finder and improved armor protection.

1988 - During a United States / Soviet Armored Forces exchange, Soviet Armored Forces visit the Patton Museum. The Soviet Union is on the brink of collapse - the Cold War is won.

1990 - Operation Desert Shield commences after Iraq's hostile invasion of Kuwait. The Continental United States (CONUS) Replacement Center is activated at Fort Knox to support Operation Desert Shield, designed to send replacements to warfighting commanders in the theater of operations.

1991 - Operation Desert Storm begins after Iraq's hostile invasion of Kuwait. The M1 Abrams and M2/M3 Bradley prove themselves to be effective armored vehicles in combat. Fort Knox is designated a Department of the Army Community of Excellence. Fort Knox executes demobilization mission of units mobilized for Desert Storm. M1A2 testing begins.

1992 - U.S. Army Recruiting Command Headquarters relocates to Fort Knox. The headquarters is responsible for worldwide recruiting and provides the command control and staff support to the recruiting force as the Army recruits over 75,000 new soldiers annually.

1996 - The last original M1 Abrams tank retires from active Army (versions may be seen at the new main gate on Bullion Boulevard and the Patton Museum). A ceremony at Fort Knox marks the occasion. Abrams tank development focuses on M1A2 development.

1999 - Platform Performance Demonstration begins at Fort Knox. This event explored suitability of tactical vehicles for possible use in the medium weight brigades intended by the Army Chief of Staff as part of the Army's on-going transformation efforts.

2000 - In April, a Brigade and Below C4ISR Rock Drill was held at Fort Knox to explore command and connectivity issues related to medium weight brigade development. The intent lay in identifying problems in typical tactical and non-tactical unit activities. In July the USAAARMC Commander is directed to create a Blue Ribbon Panel to develop organizational and operational concepts and a related transformation strategy for the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment. The Army announces selection of an Interim Armored Vehicle, now known as the STRYKER, intended to equip the interim brigade combat teams desired by the Army Chief of Staff.

2001 - On September 11, America is attacked by terrorists. Approximately 2,995 people are killed in the attacks.

2003 - The Stryker Interim Armored Vehicle goes through extensive testing at Fort Knox. The 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry of the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division participates in the initial Operational Test and Evaluation from June - September.

*** Note: The next paragraph is illegible. ***

Radcliff - Ft. Knox

The Radcliff - Ft. Knox area was first settled in the late 1700s. Many settlers were Revolutionary War soldiers who were given land grants signed by Patrick Henry, then Governor of Virginia. The present Mill Creek Baptist Church located in Radcliff was first established around 1782 in the area known as Mill Creek and was depicted as such on John Filsom's first map of Kentucky made in 1784. Some of the earliest settlers in the Mill Creek area were the families of President Abraham Lincoln and explorer Daniel Boone, both of whom have relatives buried in cemeteries on Fort Knox.

In 1829, the Louisville and Nashville Turnpike Company was formed to construct the first hard surfaced road from Louisville to Nashville. The "Bridges to the Past" historic site on Fort Knox memorializes that effort. Routed through Hardin County, the turnpike was important to commerce in the years before the railroad. A portion of that turnpike, now known as Wilson Road runs through Fort Knox and Radcliff.

During the American Civil War, both Union and Confederate Armies passed through this area. In the fall of 1861, numerous Union regiments from Fort Duffield and West Point passed through present day Radcliff on their way to Elizabethtown. Advancing north on the Louisville and Nashville Turnpike, Union General Don Carlos Buell marched his Army of the Ohio through the farm of Milton Stith in September, 1862. In July 1863, Confederate General John Hunt Morgan's Army traveled through the present day Saunders Spring Nature Preserve area on their way to Brandenburg, Kentucky. While in Brandenburg, the Confederates ----- two boats and crossed the Ohio River into Indiana. This marked the beginning of the northernmost penetration from the south into the United States by regular Confederate troops during the Civil War.

*** Note: The final paragraph is illegible. ***
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Military. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #33 Harry S. Truman series list. A significant historical date for this entry is January 1, 1932.
Location. 37° 58.334′ N, 85° 58.904′ W. Marker is near West Point, Kentucky, in Hardin County. Marker is on Dixie Highway (Kentucky Route 31W/60), on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: West Point KY 40177, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. U.S Bullion Depository (within shouting distance of this marker); The Louisville and Nashville (L&N) Turnpike Corridor Segment (approx. 1.2 miles away); Mom & Pops Place (approx. 1.2 miles away); Jean Neel Ford (approx. 2.3 miles away); Fort Duffield (approx. 2.3 miles away); Louisville, Henderson & St. Louis Bridge (approx. 2.3 miles away); Replica of Earthen Wall Cannon Emplacement (approx. 2.4 miles away); Country Music Stars (approx. 2½ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in West Point.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 30, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 12, 2018, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 1,460 times since then and 116 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on November 12, 2018, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

Share this page.  
Share on Tumblr

CeraNet Cloud Computing sponsors the Historical Marker Database.
This website earns income from purchases you make after using our links to We appreciate your support.
Paid Advertisement
Apr. 22, 2024