Fred Trump

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This article is about the real estate developer and father of Donald Trump. For his father, the restaurateur and grandfather of Donald Trump, see Frederick Trump.
Fred Trump
Born Frederick Christ Trump (Jr.)
(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 Trump
Children 5

Frederick Christ "Fred" Trump (Jr.) (October 11, 1905 – June 25, 1999) was an American real estate developer. One of his sons is the businessman and presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Early life[edit]

Trump was born on East Tremont Avenue in the Bronx to German immigrants Frederick Trump and Elizabeth Christ.[1] Trump's father Friedrich Drumpf immigrated to New York City in 1885 through Ellis Island. Skipping paperwork, he worked undocumented, as a barber for six years, becoming a legal and naturalized U.S. citizen in 1892[citation needed] under the Anglicized name Frederick Trump after moving to Seattle, Washington in 1891. The elder Trump operated hotels and restaurants in the Klondike during the Klondike Gold Rush.

In 1901, sensing the end of the gold rush, Trump Sr. sold his investments and used the proceeds to return to Germany, where he married his old neighbor Elizabeth Christ in 1902. However, German authorities determined that Trump Sr., now a U.S. citizen, had emigrated from Germany to avoid his tax and army obligations. Trump Sr. and his pregnant wife were expelled from Germany.[2] He returned to the United States and settled down in Woodhaven, Queens, where Fred Trump, Jr. was born in 1905. Trump Sr. died of pneumonia during the 1918 flu pandemic.

Business career[edit]

In 1927, at age 22, Trump went into the real estate development and construction business, forming Elizabeth Trump & Son Co. with his mother, 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.[4] After only a year Trump sold it for a tidy profit to the King Kullen supermarket chain.[4] King Kullen continues to operate in the Suffolk County area today.[5]

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.[4] 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."[4]

Although a self-made 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.[4]

Civil rights lawsuit[edit]

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 Fred 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[edit]

In 1936, Trump married Scottish immigrant Mary Anne MacLeod (born May 10, 1912, Stornoway, Scotland – died August 7, 2000, New Hyde Park, New York).[8] The couple had five children,[9][10] Maryanne Trump Barry (born 1937, a federal appeals court judge), Frederick "Fred" Trump Jr. (III) (1938–81), Elizabeth Trump Grau (born 1942),[11] an executive at Chase Manhattan Bank, Donald Trump (born 1946), and Robert S. Trump (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[4] at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park.[12]


  1. ^ "Donald Trump genealogy". Retrieved October 24, 2012. 
  2. ^ Grier, Peter (August 24, 2015). "Donald Trump: the son of an immigrant". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved August 30, 2015. 
  3. ^ "New Concerns Function with Queens Capital" (PDF). The Daily Star. April 16, 1927. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f 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. 
  5. ^
  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. ^ "Mary MacLeod Trump Philanthropist, 88". August 9, 2000. Retrieved September 11, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Fredrick Trump, Jr.". geni_family_tree. 
  10. ^ Powell, Kimberly. "Ancestry of Donald Trump". Parenting. 
  11. ^ "Elizabeth Trump Weds James Grau". The New York Times. March 27, 1989. Retrieved September 11, 2015. 
  12. ^ Mosconi, Angela (June 26, 1999). "Fred Trump, Dad of Donald, Dies at 93". New York Post. 

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