Mar-A-Largo, the architectural masterpiece in Palm Beach, can, thanks to our new President, Donald J. Trump, fulfill the dream of the woman who created this beautiful home, Marjorie Merriweather Post.
Mrs. Post was the only child of C. W. Post founder of Postum Cereals Company which she inherited at the age of 27, and after numerous acquisitions turned it into powerhouse General Foods Corporation which allowed her not only a comfortable lifestyle but required her to entertain on a large scale. For this she built Mar-A-Lago, which means sea-to-lake in Latin, on a pristine reef in Palm Beach, Florida. The lavish Palm Beach home, suitable and appropriate for the upper echelons of the Jazz Age society, reflected old world opulence with its gold leaf ceilings and historic elements gathered from around the globe. Architect Marion Sims Wyeth and broadway set decorator/architect Joseph Urban created an interesting mix of Hispano-Mooresque architecture. Doors, arches, and walls are adorned with part of a collection of thirty-six thousand Spanish and Moorish antique tiles, some date to the 15th century. Mrs. Post was very involved with the creation of Mar-A-Lago. The idea for the stones which make up the floor of round terrace originally came from a pocket-full of smooth rounded stones Mrs. Post collected from her walk on a Long Island seashore.
One very important element of building Mar-A-Lago from 1924 through 1927 is the Florida land boom came to a halt in 1926. Developers were going bust, accused of making fraudulent claims with the goal of profiteering, next a railroad embargo and in turn construction, architectural firms and building trades were closing up shop. Mrs. Post, despite being advised to stop construction, continued building rather than put the 600 people working on the project out of work.
In today’s world while we might term a home such as Mar-A-Lago extravagant, it is important to keep in mind Mrs. Post’s creation is actually the preservation of pieces of historic architecture and furnishings, without which we may never know today. It was her wish to share the estate and have it be used as a “Winter White House” when she willed the landmark property to the United States Government upon her death in 1973.
However, the expense of maintaining the property was deemed too high and it sat unused and unloved for 12 years until Donald J. Trump purchased it in 1985. Trump made it into both a winter home for his family and a private club. He restored and repurposed the property, saving much of what had fallen into disrepair. Politics aside, saving this wonderful historic home was a positive for Palm Beach and now the country. President Trump allows Mrs. Post’s dream to become a reality, Mar-A-Largo can now be the true Winter White House in accordance with her wishes.