Little-known feature of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago: Bomb shelters

Mar-a-Lago’s flag pole and coat-of-arms have drawn attention, but not so much has been said about its Red Scare-era bomb shelters.

Hidden inside the hedges bordering President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, the shelters now could provide an added sense of security for cabinet members and international leaders joining the president on his Palm Beach weekends.

In fact, Mar-a-Lago is home to three bomb shelters, along with dozens of bedrooms, more than two dozen bathrooms, two pools and a walkway that runs under South Ocean Boulevard to the beach.

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: President Donald Trump in Palm Beach

The bomb shelters are no secret: Cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, who built Mar-a-Lago in 1927, had the bomb shelters installed during the Korean War. They were mentioned in nearly every Palm Beach Post report on the sale of Mar-a-Lago to Trump in the mid-1980s. And Trump has occasionally spoken of them since.

In a 2007 Esquire profile, then-businessman Trump told writer Tom Junod that three of his properties are equipped with bunkers — Mar-a-Lago, Trump International Golf Club in suburban West Palm Beach and Trump’s estate in Westchester, New York. The bomb shelter at the golf course now serves a different purpose.

» A look behind the hedges at Mar-a-Lago and eight other spectacular Palm Beach mansions

“It gave us excellent elevation, and now, when members tee off on the second hole, they’re teeing off from the top of a bomb shelter,” Trump told Esquire.

Though the bomb shelters at Mar-a-Lago were used mostly for storage after the president bought the estate in 1985 — former Trump butler Anthony Senecal told The Tampa Bay Times he used one as his office, while the others were used for bakery and banquet storage — Trump told Esquire he would pick Mar-a-Lago’s bomb shelters over Trump International or Westchester.

» Ghost mansions of Palm Beach

“We did tests, and the foundation is anchored into the coral reef with steel and concrete,” Trump said. “That sucker’s going nowhere.”

Trump also has access to another bomb shelter in Palm Beach County, one built for President John F. Kennedy to protect him from nuclear fallout should a missile have hit during one of Kennedy’s visits to his family’s compound in Palm Beach. That bunker, squirreled away in the scrub on Peanut Island just north of West Palm Beach in the Intracoastal Waterway, now is open for tours.

» Presidents have long been drawn to Florida

» PHOTOS: President John F. Kennedy and family spend Easter in Palm Beach

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Project LIFT: Helping troubled teens through mentoring, skill building
Project LIFT: Helping troubled teens through mentoring, skill building

What Does Project LIFT do? Licensed therapists and skilled tradesman work intensely with small groups of teens to replace negative behaviors with self-esteem utilizing skilled trades to elicit positive outcomes for the future. We provide transportation for all participants. The program is 14 weeks for five hours, four days a week, with continued after-care...
The fastest road to Brightline is not a straight line, yet
The fastest road to Brightline is not a straight line, yet

Newcomers to Brightline’s West Palm train station may conclude there’s no way to get there from here, if they try to park or walk in from Clematis Street. But the frontage road that’s now a muddy playground for earth-moving machinery will be a completed road with sidewalks toward the end of February, making access easier from the...

NORTH THURSDAY Lighthouse Lecture Series, 6 to 7 p.m., Jupiter Lighthouse and Museum, 500 Captain Armour’s Way, Jupiter. Historian Josh Liller will cover the military operation of the lighthouse and the local loran stations. Q&A will follow. Free. RSVP required to 561-747-8380, Ext. 101. SATURDAY Child Safety Expo, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Lake Park...
Bouquet dianthus reigns supreme for show and cut flowers
Bouquet dianthus reigns supreme for show and cut flowers

This season has been amazing for those of us who have been growing the Bouquet series of dianthus. The flower power of this dianthus is unmatched in the gardening world. I admit there was a little anxiety with the recent winter storm called Benji. Now Bouquet Purple was a Minnesota Select Perennial Plant of the Year, so we know it has excellent cold-hardiness...
SouthTech Preparatory Academy hosts open house Wednesday

SOUTHTECH PREPARATORY ACADEMY An open house is planned at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday on the campus at 1325 Gateway Blvd., Boynton Beach. The tuition-free charter school serves students in grades six through eight. School staff will be on hand to provide information on academic and student support services, clubs and organizations. Admissions assistance also...
More Stories