Donald Trump's Palm Beach Estate Is Literally a Castle

"It's the great estate of Palm Beach."

donald trump's mar-a-lago estate
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In 1973, cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post her 128-room Palm Beach mansion to the U.S. government to be used as the winter White House. And if the house's current owner Donald Trump wins the presidency in November, that's exactly what it will become. Here, Town & Country took a look at the history of the property.

Post was one of the world's richest women when she finished building Mar-a-Lago in 1927 at a of $7 million.

marjorie merriweather post
Marjorie Merriweather Post
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American architect Marion Sims Wyeth designed it (he also the Florida governor's mansion in Tallahassee). The house is on 17 acres that border the Atlantic Ocean on one side and Florida's Intracoastal Waterway on the other.

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Post willed it to the American government upon her death for use as the winter White House. But in 1980, the government the house to Post's daughters because of the $1 million in annual maintenance costs.

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Mar-a-Lago's living room in 1967.
Courtesy of Federal HABS–Historic American Buildings Survey in Florida

1980 was also the year it was also declared a National Historic Landmark.

Enter Donald Trump. The mogul's reported for the property — $28 million — was turned down. He ended up getting it for $5 million in 1985, plus $3 million for Post's antiques and furniture.

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Donald Trump with his then-wife Ivana and staff at Mar-a-Lago in 1987.
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He turned it into a private club in and built a 20,000-square-foot ballroom with $7 million in gold leaf.

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The ballroom at Mar-a-Lago.
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He also spent $100,000 on four gold-plated sinks. Basically, there's gold everywhere you look.

mar-a-lago gold
Rex

Trump's former butler and Mar-a-Lago's unofficial historian, Anthony Senecal, the New York Times about the house's "library, paneled with centuries-old British oak and filled with rare first-edition books that no one in the family ever read."

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Anthony Senecal
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Senecal was investigated by the Secret Service earlier this year for threatening comments he made on Facebook about Barack Obama.

Trump fought the town of Palm Beach over the size of this American flag. The original, installed in 2006, was on an 80-foot pole, and Palm Beach ordinances forbade flag poles higher than 42 feet with a daily fine of $250.

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He sued for $25 million claiming his right to free speech was being violated. Ultimately he and the town came to an agreement: Trump switched to a smaller flag posted on a 70-foot pole. And instead of paying fines, he $100,000 to veterans' charities.

When Trump is in residence, he and his family stay in a private wing of the house.

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The entrance to the owner's suite in 1967.
Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FL-195-75

Club members pay a $100,000 initiation fee and annual dues of $14,000 (along with an annual food minimum of $2,000) for the privilege of using the facilities like this pool. Trump $15.6 million from the club in 2014.

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The Beach Club is on the Atlantic Ocean side of the property.
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He's obviously pleased with his purchase: "I have 24 acres in Palm Beach and nobody has anything like that," Trump at a show jumping event there in 2014. "A big house is on one acre. I have 24. It's the great estate of Palm Beach."

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Jessica Springsteen competed in a show jumping competition at Mar-a-Lago in 2014.
Getty ImagesLarry Marano

Post's Washington, D.C., estate, by the way, is now a museum. It's called . No word on whether the Donald has toured it yet.

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Last year Trump sued Palm Beach Country for what he "deliberate and malicious" moves to direct departing flights from the Palm Beach International Airport over Mar-a-Lago.

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If Trump takes office, this scene could become off-limits to air traffic.
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The suit is and might go to trial by the end of the year. That is, unless, Trump wins in November. In that case, the Secret Service could a no-fly zone over the soon-to-be winter White House.

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