National Historic Site

(1972 - 1980)



Yes. That Mar-a-Lago... President Trump's Winter White House! Maybe this is why he wants to get rid of monuments! He wants to live in them! There's a blog post coming on this one soon...

Pruning the Parks: Mar-a-Lago National Historic Site (1972-1980) Was a Gift the National Park Service Couldn’t Afford to Keep

National Parks Traveler

The former Mar-a-Lago National Historic Site -- established 21 October 1972 and abolished 23 December 1980 -- certainly has an interesting history. In fact, it’s better than fiction....

Mrs. Post continued to use the Mar-a-Lago property as a winter retreat until her death on September 12, 1973, at age 86. Her will transferred the estate to the Federal government for use as a diplomatic/presidential retreat. However, even before her death Mar-a-Lago National Historic Site had been established (on January 16, 1969) by order of the Secretary of the Interior and turned over the National Park Service for administration on October 21, 1972. Mar-a-Lago was also placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.

In 1980, the same year that Mar-a-Lao was designated a National Historic Landmark, Congress returned the estate to the Post Foundation. If it isn’t immediately clear why, consider for a moment how expensive it is to maintain and provide presidential-grade security for a place like that. Yikes!

The December 23, 1980, delisting may have been the end of the Mar-a-Lago National Historic Site, but it was not the end of the Mar-a-Lago story.

Via Wikipedia:

Mar-a-Lago is a resort and National Historic Landmark in Palm Beach, Florida, built from 1924 to 1927 by cereal-company heiress and socialite Marjorie Merriweather Post. The 126-room, 62,500-square-foot house contains the Mar-a-Lago Club, a members-only club with guest rooms, a spa, and other hotel-style amenities. It is located on the barrier island section of Palm Beach, with the Atlantic Ocean to the east and Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway to the west, and its western lawns are exposed to rising sea levels.

At the time of her death in 1973, Post bequeathed the property to the National Park Service, hoping it could be used for state visits or as a Winter White House. However, due to the costs of maintaining the property exceeding the funds provided by Post, and the difficulty in securing the facility in the flight path of Palm Beach Airport, the property was returned to the Post Foundation by an Act of Congress in 1981.

In 1985, Mar-a-Lago was purchased by businessman Donald Trump and his then-wife Ivana Trump was put in charge of running the property. The Trump family maintains private quarters in a separate, closed-off area of the house and grounds, and since becoming President, Trump has frequently stayed there, referring to it as his "Southern White House". It is the 20th largest mansion in the United States.

Mar-A-Lago — the Florida estate of Marjorie Merriwether Post, designed by Joseph Urban. April 1967.

Jack Boucher [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Image courtesy of federal HABS—Historic American Buildings Survey in Florida project.