The world’s media are descending on Mar-a-Lago tonight for Donald Trump’s Super Tuesday bash. Many will have no idea about the history of the place.
Q: Why is the Palm Beach mansion called Mar-a-Lago?
A: Mar a lago is Spanish for “sea to lake.” The mansion sits on 17 acres sprawling across the island from the Atlantic Ocean to the Intracoastal Waterway.
Marjorie Merriweather Post inherited $11 million from her father, Charles William Post, of breakfast cereal fame. She spent $2.5 million — in 1920s dollars — to build her palace. Completed in 1927, Mar-a-Lago featured 58 bedrooms, 33 bathrooms with gold fixtures, three bomb shelters, an 1,800-square-foot living room (with gold leaf on its 42-foot ceilings), a 1,500-square-foot dining room, a theater, a 75-foot tower, 36,000 antique Spanish tiles and a nine-hole golf course.
In 1964, Post offered Mar-a-Lago to the state, which balked at the $250,000 overhead. When she died in 1973, she willed it to the federal government as a winter White House; the feds gave it back seven years later.
In 1985, millionaire and sometime presidential candidate Donald Trump paid $15 million for the mansion and its furnishings. Trump restored the home and built a putting green, tennis courts and croquet court, then added a spa, salon and health club. Bemoaning the same massive upkeep that bedeviled Marjorie Merriweather Post, Trump in 1995 converted the home into a private club.
Palm Beach Post reporter Eliot Kleinberg (on Twitter @eliotkpbp) will report and tweet live from Tuesday’s Donald Trump event at Mar-a-lago. Immediate news and photos can be seen atwww.palmbeachpost.com and www.MyPalmBeachPost.com