Palm Beach Life with Trump
I grew up around the Wellington, FL area and eventually moved to West Palm Beach while I was attending school in Tallahassee. Growing up I didn’t appreciate Florida history as much until I started working as a boat tour guide after my political canvassing work came to an end at the conclusion of the last election. Since I started working as a tour guide, my eyes have been opened and I realized just how much history there is to appreciate here in Palm Beach County especially on the island of Palm Beach.
The island of Palm Beach is a 16-mile long barrier island that is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Lake Worth lagoon. Back in the year 2000, had a year round population of around 10,500 residents as well as a seasonal population of 30,000. Palm Beach was originally built to be a resort style destination by Henry Flagler, a railroad magnate who helped the create the community through the construction of the Royal Poinciana Hotel and the Breakers Hotel. Before construction, it was a lush tropical island with marshes and bogs in the center of it. Flagler is also responsible for developing much of the railroads that allowed transportation in Florida that gave Florida much of its early economy.
As of December 2016, 30 of the world’s 400 wealthiest people lived on the island of Palm Beach. The town today is wildly affluent and is known for having a very strong sense of community as well as an abundance of pleasures and opportunities. There are many celebrities and business moguls who live there or have lived there including Rod Stewart, Tony Robbins, Ann Coulter, Donald Trump, Rush Limbaugh, S. Daniel Abraham, and former Apple CEO John Sculley. The town also has it’s own government as well as it’s own police force too. Much of the retail and restaurants on the island aren’t chain restaurants minus the Publix with it’s own valet. Sprinkles, an ice cream parlor has been covered in numerous magazines and has many pictures on its website as well as inside its store of celebrities who frequently dine there.
This wealthy spot with such a strong sense of community and engagement among residents surprisingly doesn’t get as much buzz or coverage unless there is a new resident who moves in and even that is low key. However, since President Trump has arrived, Palm Beach has gained quite a bit of coverage as well as more questions about the Mar-A-Lago. The Mar-A-Lago is one of the crown jewels of the island and is owned by the current president. It’s a luxurious private club that is beautifully designed and constructed and also has an important history on the island as well.
The Mar-A-Lago was originally constructed by Marjorie Merriweather Post, the heiress to the Post Cereal Fortune and her husband, Wall Street mogul, E.F. Hutton. Upon her death in 1973, Post willed the 17-acre estate to the United States government as a Winter White House for presidents. However, the government had no interest in paying its $1 million in annual taxes and maintenance costs. Trump ended up purchasing the estate
Today the Mar-A-Lago is the crown jewel of the island of Palm Beach and is an exclusive club with a limited number of members allowed who can afford the initiation fee and annual dues. It’s been making headlines in the news as President Trump’s “Winter White House” now that he is president. He has been in town for the last two weekends and is reportedly going to be visiting again this weekend. Last weekend, he treated the prime minister of Japan to golf and the luxury of the Mar-A-Lago for a mix of business and pleasure.
It’s a strange feeling to see Air Force One at your local airport when you are driving by and it’s also an interesting feeling to see the island of Palm Beach receiving so much attention from the media now that the president is spending his time there. During tours, many of the traveling passengers ask where the Mar-A-Lago is and are most fascinated about that building. I’ve never understood why so many people are fascinated by celebrities, but I must admit that it has gotten more people interested in the island itself and that is a positive for the local tourism industry.