1985: Donald J. Trump purchases cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post’s landmark Mar-a-Lago estate. Years of wrangling with the Town of Palm Beach over the future of the property will finally result in a compromise that allows him to convert the historic property into a private club.
1986: Trump purchases the twin-tower Plaza condominium buildings in West Palm Beach for $40 million in a foreclosure sale and installs a sign that says “Trump Plaza” in 5-foot-high letters atop each of the buildings.
1988: Trump becomes involved with a group called the Noise Pollution Action Fund that advocates restrictions on the noisiest types of aircraft at Palm Beach International Airport, a curfew on takeoffs and landings and, as a potential “long-term solution,” moving the airport to another location.
1991: Trump relinquishes the 33-story Trump Plaza condo towers in West Palm Beach to lenders after borrowing $60 million to complete the project. However, his name remains atop the structures.
1993 and 1994: The letters spelling out the Trump name atop the West Palm Beach Trump Plaza complex begin to disappear — supposedly for maintenance, though some suspected a stealth campaign to de-Trump the buildings. Condo unit owners vote 95-to-74 to put them back up. Trump then volunteers to pay for the restoration of the signs, telling the condo board in a letter, “It is my honor to help.”
1995: Trump files a $75 million lawsuit against Palm Beach County over the airport. That suit is settled in 1996 as part of an arrangement that includes the county agreeing to lease 215 acres near the airport for what would become the Trump International Golf Club with an acclaimed course designed by Jim Fazio.
1996: In May, Miss Venezuela, Alicia Machado, is crowned Miss Universe. Trump’s second wife, Marla Maples Trump, serves as a host of the pageant broadcast by NBC. Later that year, Machado visits Mar-a-Lago. A decade later, in the fall of 2016, Machado accuses GOP presidential nominee Trump of harassment and sexist comments as she makes public appearances in support of Democrat Hillary Clinton.
1997: Trump breaks ground on construction of the Trump International Golf Club, a $40 million course just south of Palm Beach International Airport. It is completed in 2000.
1999: To celebrate New Year’s Eve, and welcome a new millennium, Trump wins approval from Palm Beach to build a 17,000-square foot, $10 million pavilion plus agreement from the town council to invite as many as 700 guests.
2001: In a bizarre event that captured national headlines, a club member playing the course at Trump International Golf Club bludgeons a rare black swan to death. The swan was one of four given to Trump by a close friend, the late New York Realtor Ed Gordon. “We’re very angry about it,” Trump said at the time.
2003: On Jan. 24, photographer Ken Davidoff is accompanied by Mindy McGillivray to photograph an event at Mar-a-Lago. At one point in the evening, Davidoff recalls McGillivray telling him: “Donald just grabbed my ass!” The two do not speak publicly about the incident — until the fall of 2016. Amid the presidential campaign, a spokeswoman said Trump denies the McGillivray incident happened. “There is no truth to this whatsoever,” said Hope Hicks, Trump’s press secretary.
2003: Trump installs the name “Trump” on a coat-of-arms on Mar-a-Lago walls.
2006: In January, Mar-a-Lago is the site of Trump’s third wedding, this time to Melania Knauss. A memorable moment in the evening is captured in a photograph: Trump, Melania, Bill and Hillary Clinton laughing together.
2006: In March, an Elton John AIDS-benefit concert draws 200 more than the 700 people allowed on the 18-acre Mar-a-Lago property. Trump ultimately pays a $15,000 fine.
2006: In October, Trump begins flying a 15 feet by 25 foot flag atop an 80-foot tall pole on Mar-a-Lago estate’s south lawn. That begins yet another stand-off with the Town of Palm Beach.
2007: At a Mar-a-Lago charity event for Lake Worth-based HomeSafe, the Trumps are said to have purchased a 6-foot painting of The Donald using Trump Foundation funds. Melania Trump reportedly paid $20,000 for the painting and the Palm Beacher’s foundation cut the check. This anecdote, too, becomes fodder for media scrutiny and controversy in the 2016 presidential campaign.
2010: In a second legal game of brinksmanship over PBIA, Trump sues the county over plans to expand the airport, but drops the suit in 2011 when the expansion plans are shelved because of lower traffic projections.
2011: Trump purchases a new Boeing 757 airplane, said to have been bought for $100 million from Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Asked by the Post whether he acquired it for a future presidential run, Trump demurs. “It’s a big plane. We’ll see what happens.”
2013: A federal lawsuit is filed against the Trump National Golf Club Jupiter, the former Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, by three former Ritz club members who allege a Trump entity wrongly canceled their memberships when it bought the club and refused to return their deposits within 30 days, as required. Trump’s team scorns the complaint. “We are going to win in a landslide,” Eric Trump, his son and the executive vice president of the Trump Organization, tells the Post in an interview in October 2015. The lawsuit is still being litigated.
2015: Trump’s legal battle with PBIA is renewed when he files a $100 million lawsuit against the county and the airport to keep jets from flying near Mar-a-Lago. The suit is dropped in November 2016, in part, because the Secret Service will now limit flight traffic over what is expected to become Trump’s winter White House.
2016: The tumultuous presidential primary campaign takes a historically pivotal turn on March 8 at the Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter. Trump aide Corey Lewandowski, who guided the campaign from curiosity to front-runner, is accused by a blogger from Trump ally Breitbart News of forcefully grabbing her after a news conference at the resort. Lewandowski is arrested on misdemeanor battery charges, but the case is dropped. Still, Lewandowski later resigns and a top Breitbart officer, Steve Bannon, subsequently helps steer Trump to a stunning upset victory over Hillary Clinton. Bannon then is hired as chief White House strategist.
2016: On March 13, thousands of supporters turn out for a Trump rally at Sunset Cove Amphitheater at Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park west of Boca Raton.
2016: On March 15, Trump celebrates his biggest haul of delegates to that point, including the Florida primary, at the Mar-a-Lago club. That evening also marked the departure of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) from the presidential race
2017: A week before Inauguration Day, the Town of Palm Beach reverses a ban on helicopter landings, ostensibly so President Trump can land at Mar-a-Lago on Marine One.
February 3, 2017: President Trump arrives Aboard Air Force One in Palm Beach for his first visit to Mar-a-Lago since the inauguration.