Image: Seattle Municipal Archives
Donald Trump is dominating the political headlines these days and leading in Republican Presidential nominee polls, for better or worse. If you want to go back far enough, it turns out you can blame Seattle for getting us here. The Trump story literally begins here because this is where German-born immigrant Friedrich Drumpf changed his name to Fred Trump. The New York City transplant moved to Seattle in 1891 and launched a late-night restaurant in the seedy part of town. His business shared space with opium dens and brothels and it was an arrangement Fred would learn to take full advantage of.
As the Klondike Gold Rush took off in 1897, Trump headed north to the town of Monte Cristo. Today it's a ghost town but back then the eastern Snohomish County was a hot prospecting spot with high hopes around lead and silver. Trump ran a popular tent restaurant for the stampeders who came in search of their fortunes (and likely left empty-handed).
In April 1898, Trump boarded a ship for Skagway, Alaska. From there, Fred and friend Ernest Levin ran another restaurant for prospectors. Located along a route known as Dead Horse Trail, it's no surprise that horsemeat was one of the items on the menu.
Soon after, the duo arrived in Bennett, British Columbia and opened the New Arctic Restaurant and Hotel. While the menu was actually quite diverse and upscale, a letter in the Yukon Sun newspaper painted a different picture of the scene. "For single men the Arctic has excellent accommodations as well as the best restaurant in Bennett, but I would not advise respectable women to go there to sleep as they are liable to hear that which would be repugnant to their feelings - and uttered, too, by the depraved of their own sex."
By 1900, Bennett was drying up as a town and Trump & Levin moved their entire business to the town of Whitehorse. The White Horse Restaurant and Inn was said to be a huge success as well, though it also offered "discreet accommodations for men and women of loose morals." By May 1901, there were rumors that authorities were getting ready to crack down on businesses of ill-repute. Always a bit ahead of the curve, Trump cashed out and headed to Germany flush with cash and a reputable business background.
Eventually, Trump returned to New York City. Fred Trump, Jr. (Donald's Dad) was born in 1905 and Trump Sr. died of pneumonia in 1918 during the Spanish Flu Epidemic. The rest, as they say, is history. So when you think of Donald Trump's successes and where he goes from here, thank the loose morals of the Pacific Northwest for getting him here.
· How the Trumps struck Klondike gold [DailyMail]
· Monte Cristo [Wiki]
· How the Trumps Struck Klondike Gold [UM]
· Whitehorse [Wiki]