1. Friedrich Trump is born in Kallstadt, in what was then Bavaria. At the age of thirteen he is apprenticed to a barber. He later leaves for Bremen, and in 1885, at sixteen, departs for New York to better his fortunes and avoid the draft.
2. In 1891, with savings from his barbering earnings in New York, Friedrich (now known as Frederick) moves to Seattle and buys a restaurant in the city’s red-light district. It was very common for establishments of this kind to feature a variety of forms of entertainment, including what were called “rooms for ladies.”
In 1894, Frederick Trump sells his establishment in Seattle and moves to the gold-mining town of Monte Cristo, Washington, staking a claim on previously claimed land for the mineral rights (a corrupt practice allowed at the time). Instead of mining, he built a hostelry for the miners (also most likely featuring women working at night).
3. In 1897 he sells his establishment in Monte Cristo and the following year leaves for the Yukon. He finds his gold not in prospecting but in providing services to miners. The tent restaurant he establishes takes advantage of the abundance of flash-frozen horse carcasses: animals abused in transit that were easily found where they’d fallen along the White Pass. The nearby town is, appropriately, named White Horse.
4. By 1901, Yukon has begun to crack down on prostitution, gambling, and liquor. Frederick, now wealthy, returns to Kallstadt.
5. In 1902, Frederick marries Elisabeth Christ. They move to New York, but she is homesick, and they attempt to return with their daughter to Bavaria two years later. The German government, now increasingly militarized, declares Frederick a draft dodger and expels him in 1905, and he returns with his family to New York.
6. Fred Trump is born in October 1905.
In 1907, Frederick opens a barber shop at 60 Wall Street and starts accumulating property. This includes his home in Woodhaven, Queens, and various other interests in the New York area. He then becomes one of the first in New York to die from the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918.
7. As a minor, Fred carries on the real estate business in partnership with his mother. By 1926, he had already built twenty homes in Queens.
8. In 1927, Fred is swept up in an arrest of Ku Klux Klan marchers in Queens.
During World War II, Trump builds barracks and garden apartments for U.S. Navy personnel near major shipyards along the East Coast.
9. After the war Fred expands into middle-income housing. His early career is facilitated by utilizing the Federal Housing Administration housing loan system.
Though always a Republican, he becomes a fixture of the Madison Democratic Club in Brooklyn. He determinedly socializes and contributes to New York politicians for fifty years and is, in turn, favored in city contracts, abatements, and favors.
10. Legendary folk singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie, who in 1950 becomes a tenant in one of Trump’s apartment complexes in Brooklyn, writes lyrics that accuse his landlord of stirring up racial hate “in the bloodpot of human hearts.”
11. A Voice article by Wayne Barrett in 1979 cites court records from a racial discrimination case that reveal explicit instructions from Trump to rental agents, doormen, and superintendents not to rent to people of color.
12. Fred’s son Donald joins Trump Management Company in 1968, and rises to become company president in 1971. He renames it the Trump Organization. Donald Trump receives a loan from his father in the mid 1970s of $1 million (although reportedly there are numerous loans exceeding $14 million). This allows Donald to develop real estate in Manhattan while his father focuses on Brooklyn and Queens.
“It was good for me,” Donald later comments. “You know, being the son of somebody, it could have been competition to me. This way, I got Manhattan all to myself.”
He eventually becomes the 45th president of the United States.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on June 14, 2018