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Fred Trump

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This article is about the real estate developer. For his father, see Frederick Trump.
Fred Trump
Fred Trump.png
Born Frederick Christ Trump
(1905-10-11)October 11, 1905
Woodhaven, New York, U.S.
Died June 25, 1999(1999-06-25) (aged 93)
New Hyde Park, New York, U.S.
Occupation Founder of Elizabeth Trump & Son Co.
Net worth Increase $250–$300 million (1999)
Spouse(s) Mary Anne MacLeod
Children Maryanne, Frederick Jr., Elizabeth, Donald, Robert.
Parent(s) Frederick Trump and Elizabeth Christ

Frederick Christ "Fred" Trump (October 11, 1905 – June 25, 1999) was an American real estate developer. He was the father of businessman Donald Trump and United States Appeals Judge Maryanne Trump Barry.

Early life

Trump was born on East Tremont Avenue in the Bronx, to German immigrants Elizabeth (née Christ) and Frederick Trump.[1] His father had emigrated to New York City in 1885 from the small German town of Kallstadt, Palatinate where he briefly returned around 1900, married, and reemigrated.

Although both of Trump's parents were born in Germany, Trump told friends and acquaintances for decades after World War II that the family was of Swedish origin. According to his nephew John Walter, "He had a lot of Jewish tenants and it wasn't a good thing to be German in those days."[2]

Business career

In 1927, at age 22, Fred Trump went into the real estate development and construction business, forming Elizabeth Trump & Son Co. with his mother Elizabeth Christ Trump, who was an active partner, writing the checks.[3]

In the late 1920s Trump began building single-family houses in Queens, which were sold for $3,990 each. By the mid-1930s in the middle of the Great Depression, he helped pioneer the concept of supermarkets with the Trump Market in Woodhaven, which advertised "Serve Yourself and Save!", becoming an instant hit.[2] After only a year Trump sold it for a tidy profit to the King Kullen supermarket chain.[2] King Kullen continues to operate in the Suffolk County area today.[4]

During World War II, Trump built barracks and garden apartments for U.S. Navy personnel near major shipyards along the East Coast, including Chester, Pennsylvania, Newport News, Virginia, and Norfolk, Virginia. After the war he expanded into middle-income housing for the families of returning veterans, building Shore Haven in Bensonhurst in 1949, and Beach Haven near Coney Island in 1950 (a total of 2,700 apartments). In 1963 he built the 3,800-apartment Trump Village in Coney Island, competing with Lefrak City in Queens.

Trump went on to build and operate affordable rental housing via large apartment complexes in New York City, including more than 27,000 low-income multifamily apartments and row houses in the neighborhoods of Coney Island, Bensonhurst, Sheepshead Bay, Flatbush, and Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, and Flushing and Jamaica Estates in Queens.[2] In 1968 his 22-year-old son Donald Trump joined his company Trump Management Co., becoming president in 1974, and renaming it The Trump Organization in 1980. In the mid-1970s he lent his son money, allowing him to go into the real estate business in Manhattan, while Fred stuck to Brooklyn and Queens. "It was good for me," Donald later commented. "You know, being the son of somebody, it could have been competition to me. This way, I got Manhattan all to myself."[2]

Folk icon Woody Guthrie, who from 1950, was a tenant in one of Fred Trump's apartment complexes in Brooklyn, chronicled his disgust with Trump as a landlord, penning lyrics which accused him of stirring up racial hate "in the bloodpot of human hearts".[5]

Although a millionaire, Trump was known for his frugality, saving unused nails, doing his own extermination work and mixing his own floor cleaners. Nevertheless, he insisted on buying a new navy blue Cadillac every three years, with license plate "FCT".[6] By the time of his death, Trump was estimated to have amassed a fortune worth $250 to $300 million.[2]

Civil rights lawsuit

In 1973, the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division filed a civil rights suit against the Trump organization charging that it refused to rent to black people. The Urban League had sent black and white testers to apply for apartments in Trump-owned complexes; the whites got the apartments, the blacks didn't. According to court records, four superintendents or rental agents reported that applications sent to the central office for acceptance or rejection were coded by race. A 1979 Village Voice article quoted a rental agent who said Trump instructed him not to rent to black people and to encourage existing black tenants to leave. In 1975, a consent decree described by the head of DOJ’s housing division as "one of the most far-reaching ever negotiated," required Trump to advertise vacancies in minority papers and list vacancies with the Urban League. The Justice Department subsequently complained that continuing "racially discriminatory conduct by Trump agents has occurred with such frequency that it has created a substantial impediment to the full enjoyment of equal opportunity."[7]

Personal life

On June 1, 1927, a New York Times article reported that a "Fred Trump" was arrested and discharged after an incident with members of the Ku Klux Klan turned into a brawl with Queens police. The brawl reportedly consisted of over 1,000 klansmen and 100 police officers, with Fred Trump being one of seven men arrested. An internet blog later rediscovered the article, and noted Trump would have been around the age of twenty one. It stated "this is not proof that Trump senior—who would later go on to become a millionaire real estate developer—was a member of the Ku Klux Klan or even in attendance at the event. Despite sharing lawyers with the other men, it's conceivable that he may have been an innocent bystander, falsely named, or otherwise the victim of mistaken identity during or following a chaotic event."[8]

In 1936, Trump married Scottish immigrant Mary Anne MacLeod (born May 10, 1912, Stornoway, Scotland – died August 7, 2000, New Hyde Park, New York).[9] The couple had five children:[10][11] Maryanne (born 1937), a federal appeals court judge; Frederick "Fred" Jr. (1938–81); Elizabeth (born 1942),[12] an executive at Chase Manhattan Bank; Donald (born 1946); and Robert (born 1948), president of his father's property management company.

Trump suffered from Alzheimer's disease for six years. Before his death he became sick with pneumonia in June 1999[2] at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park.[13]


  1. ^ "Donald Trump genealogy". Retrieved October 24, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Rozhon, Tracie (June 26, 1999). "Fred C. Trump, Postwar Master Builder of Housing for Middle Class, Dies at 93". The New York Times. Retrieved May 2, 2010. 
  3. ^ "New Concerns Function with Queens Capital" (PDF). The Daily Star. April 16, 1927. 
  4. ^ "King Kullen". King Kullen. 
  5. ^ Thomas Kaplan (Jan 25, 2016). "Woody Guthrie Wrote of His Contempt for His Landlord, Donald Trump’s Father". New York Times. 
  6. ^ "Fred Trump". Helytimes. June 17, 2015. 
  7. ^ <Barrett, Wayne; Campbell, Jon (July 20, 2015). "How a young Donald Trump forced his way from Avenue Z to Manhattan". Village Voice. Retrieved September 11, 2015. 
  8. ^ Blum, Matt (9 September 2015). "1927 news report: Donald Trump's dad arrested in KKK brawl with cops". Boing Boing. 
  9. ^ "Mary MacLeod Trump Philanthropist, 88". August 9, 2000. Retrieved September 11, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Fredrick Trump, Jr.". geni_family_tree. 
  11. ^ Powell, Kimberly. "Ancestry of Donald Trump". Parenting. 
  12. ^ "Elizabeth Trump Weds James Grau". The New York Times. March 27, 1989. Retrieved September 11, 2015. 
  13. ^ Mosconi, Angela (June 26, 1999). "Fred Trump, Dad of Donald, Dies at 93". New York Post. 

External links