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article imageThe Trump family brothel being given a new lease on life

By Karen Graham     Jun 23, 2017 in Politics
Toward the end of the 19th century, an enterprising German-American opened The Arctic Restaurant and Bar in Bennett, British Columbia, a thriving transit point for prospectors during the Klondike gold rush, serving good food, booze, and ready women.
That young entrepreneur was none other than Friedrich Trump, grandfather to Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States. Young Trump immigrated to the United States from what was then known as the Kingdom of Bavaria at the age of 16.
Friedrich immediately secured a job, becoming a barber in New York City for six years. In 1891, Trump moved to Seattle in the new state of Washington, and with his life savings of several hundred dollars, a lot of money back then, be bought the Poodle Dog, renaming it the Dairy Restaurant, a very respectable name. The Dairy was located in Seattle's "red light district."
Prospectors stopped in Bennett to build their boats before going up the Dawson River. (June 1  1898)
Prospectors stopped in Bennett to build their boats before going up the Dawson River. (June 1, 1898)
Eric A. Hegg - Eric A. Hegg Photographs
Besides the usual fare of food and booze, the restaurant also advertised "rooms for ladies," a common euphemism for prostitutes. Trump became a U.S. citizen in 1892 and voted in Washington state's first presidential election. By this time, gold fever was affecting a lot of get-rich-quick gold-seekers, and while Trump never dabbled in mining for gold, in a way, he figured out a way to "mine the miners."
First Trump to hold political office
In 1894, Trump sold the Dairy Restaurant, and before leaving Seattle, he bought 40 acres of land for $200 in Pine Lake Plateau, and this purchase could be said to have been the beginning of the Trump financial empire. He then moved north to Monte Cristo where be built a boarding house.
Interestingly, Trump was also elected as a Justice of the Peace in 1896, beating out his opponent by a vote of 32 to 5. But the most impressive attribute Trump had was his business acumen. By July 1897, the Klondike gold rush had begun, and it was soon after that Trump left for the Yukon.
View of Bennett  BRitish Columbia on June 1  1898 during the Klondike gold rush.
View of Bennett, BRitish Columbia on June 1, 1898 during the Klondike gold rush.
Murdock, G.G. / Library and Archives Canada / C-001333
Trump and another miner named Ernest Levin opened a tent restaurant along Dead Horse Trail, so named because the trail was so arduous that prospectors literally beat their pack horses to death trying to get them up the treacherous route. The dead horses were left to decompose alongside the trail, and Trump's tent restaurant made good use of the quick-frozen horse meat, serving it to prospectors looking for a hot meal.
The move to Bennett, British Columbia
By 1898, gold-fever had given rise to B-City, Bennett. It was a thriving camp where prospectors built their boats for the trip up the Dawson River to the gold fields. Trump and his partner moved to Bennett and opened the Arctic Restaurant. The Arctic started out as a bunch of tents, but it featured fine dining and “private boxes for ladies and parties,” according to an advertisement in the Dec. 9, 1899, edition of the Bennett Sun newspaper.
White Pass Trail  known as Dead Horse Trail  in 1898.
White Pass Trail, known as Dead Horse Trail, in 1898.
Eric A. Hegg - Eric A. Hegg Photographs
The boxes included a bed and scale used to weigh gold dust for payment of "services," according to a three-generation biography by Gwenda Blair, who traced the origins of the Trump family’s wealth.
Trump, the businessman, made a fortune in Bennett. Just a couple of years after he arrived, the Arctic Restaurant was a two-story, thriving business enterprise, built on three things that were essential to a good business in those rough-and-tumble times - food, booze, and sex.
The Arctic Restaurant makes history
Miners could get a meal that featured everything from fresh oysters, to moose, cranberries, caribou, and even swan meat, quite an extravagance considering goods had to be brought in over long and sometimes dangerous overland routes.
Prostitution district of Klondike City  across the Klondike River from Dawson  Yukon Territory. The ...
Prostitution district of Klondike City, across the Klondike River from Dawson, Yukon Territory. The prostitution district was also known as "Lousetown", "Oshiwora" or "White Chapel." Friedrich Trump made his fortune from food, booze and sex.
Eric A. Hegg - Eric A. Hegg Photographs
“I would advise respectable women traveling alone, or with an escort, to be careful in their selection of hotels at Bennett,” according to a letter penned by “The Pirate” in the Yukon Sun on April 17, 1900. For single men, the Arctic offered excellent accommodations but women should avoid it “as they are liable to hear that which would be repugnant to their feelings and uttered, too, by the depraved of their own sex.”
Blair writes that Friedrich Trump was a "shrewd businessman." Of the approximately 100,000 prospectors that set out for the Klondike, only a third actually made it, and of those who did manage to get there, less than 4.0 percent struck gold. But Trump never picked up a pickaxe, yet he made a fortune.
When the railroad came to White Horse in 1901, the town of Bennett began to go downhill. Trump moved to White Horse and finally took his fortune and moved back to Kallstadt, Germany, where he deposited his fortune of 80,000 marks in the village treasury, That amount of money today would be worth about half-a-million euros.
1915 portrait of Friedrich Trump s and Elizabeth Christ Trump s Family; the oldest son (left) is Fre...
1915 portrait of Friedrich Trump's and Elizabeth Christ Trump's Family; the oldest son (left) is Fred Trump. (retouched photo)
Unknown author
But unable to reclaim his citizenship in Germany, he took his fortune and headed back to New York City where he began the family's real estate empire that passed on down to his son, Fred, and grandson Donald Trump. The colorful life of Friedrich Trump is but a footnote in the history of the Klondike gold rush, but the Arctic Restaurant was a real part of that history, and now it has been restored.
Today, the Arctic Restaurant and Hotel is being restored by Parks Canada in collaboration with the Carcross Tagish First Nation. Bennett, once a thriving stopover for gold-seekers, has only one resident, a Tlingit woman who maintains her family’s trap line. She lives a short distance away from where the reconstruction of the restaurant and hotel is located, but there are a few artifacts lying around - A rusted mattress spring and a lady's salmon-colored shoe.
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