Frederick Trump, grandfather of the 45th President of the United States, was a Bavarian immigrant who, in the late 1800s, opened a hotel in the remote mining community of Monte Cristo, Washington.
Monte Cristo, now a ghost town, is deep in Seattle NorthCountry, nestled far up the Stillaguamish River Valley in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. You can still hike there and see run-down sheds and machinery.
At its peak Monte Cristo was home to over 1,000 miners who were bankrolled by wealthy industrialists. A lot of people were planning to make money at Monte Cristo.
Frederick Trump was one of them. He opened a successful hotel there and charged the miners to stay.
Monte Cristo was one of the first Trump real estate investments. After he left the failing mining town, Frederick made money in Alaska during the Gold Rush. From there, Trump travelled back to Bavaria, where he ran into trouble and returned to America, settling in Queens, New York.
The rest of the Trump story you probably already know.
Throughout its history Monte Cristo town has struggled. It’s in a remote location and can be hard to access seasonally.
Several investors have tried to revitalize the town, with varying degrees of success. In the 1950s and ‘60s, tourists drove into the mountains to see carnival-style attractions at Monte Cristo like “Slippery Sam,” a dummy lying in a coffin.
Decades passed and the road to the town repeatedly flooded. The main lodge (the former Trump hotel) caught fire and burned down. The Snohomish County Council eventually gave up continually rebuilding the road.
Monte Cristo still exists today as a ghost town, accessible by foot or mountain bike. Old shacks and machinery slowly rust to pieces, exposed to the temperamental weather of the North Cascades. Visitors to the historic town are encouraged to explore and take pictures.
See Monte Cristo for yourself
See historic Monte Cristo for yourself. You just may find ghosts—the ghosts of miners, or the ghosts of failed industrial practices. Or maybe the ghost of Donald Trump’s grandfather.
Hike it here