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Trump family empire began with a brothel, soon to reopen for tours

Headed for the Klondike Gold Rush in the 1890s, Trump's great-grandfather seized a yuge opportunity.
Trump Family History Friedrich Trump
Photo: Getty Images

The Trump family licenses its name to a number of businesses and brands, from hotels to golf courses. Daughter Ivanka Trump recently applied for Chinese trademarks for sanitary napkins and a plastic-surgery center. But one Trump holding may turn out to be the most infamous: A brothel.

The house of ill repute (for once, not in reference to the White House) was opened by Trump's great-grandfather Friedrich Trump in 1897 after he relocated from Manhattan to Bennett, British Columbia, Maclean's magazine reports.

Friedrich was pursuing the Klondike Gold Rush but found another income stream, beginning the Trump real-estate empire with a combination restaurant-brothel. "The current U.S. president may own resorts on four continents, but his ancestral fortune began with a two-storey outfit selling swan meat and sex in Canada," the magazine says. Most of the establishment's profits came from prostitution and alcohol.

The Arctic Restaurant and Hotel is being restored by Parks Canada and the Carcross Tagish First Nation and will be opened for tours.

The establishment was open 24 hours a day with “private boxes for ladies and parties,” according to an ad in the Dec. 9, 1899 Bennett Sun newspaper, Bloomberg reports. The boxes included a bed and a scale for weighing gold dust used to pay for “services,” according to a Trump family biography.

There is a rich history for tourists to peruse. “I would not advise respectable women to go there to sleep,” wrote a reporter for the Yukon Sun in April 1900, “as they are liable to hear that which would be repugnant to their feelings and uttered, too, by the depraved of their own sex."

Donald Trump has told the New York Times that the story is "totally false."

“I think he’s lost touch with his roots,” Jennifer Ingram, a Delaware tourist who visited Bennett in June, told Maclean's.

The opening date for the new tourist attraction has not been set.

 
 
 
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