Donald Trump's grandfather's history in Seattle

by: Dave Wagner Updated:

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As Donald Trump campaigns for Super Tuesday, Seattlelites can choose to beam with pride or cover their faces in embarrassment. 

The Republican front-runner and billionaire businessman got his drive, in part, from his grandfather's business prowess here in Seattle. 

In the 1890's, Seattle was a rough and tumble place. 

Trump's grandfather, Friedrich, had moved from Germany to New York when he saw an opportunity in the Pacific Northwest.

In the 1890's, Seattle was a rough and tumble place. Donald Trump's grandfather, Friedrich, had moved from Germany to New York when he saw an opportunity in the Pacific Northwest.
© 2017 Cox Media Group.

"The last of the physical frontier, as it were. So he headed to Seattle," said author Gwenda Blair who wrote a book about three generations of Trumps.

Friedrich Trump bought a restaurant in Pioneer Square called, "The Poodle Dog,” not to be confused with a business with the same name in Fife. 

Trump changed the name to “Dairy Restaurant” and it offered more than food.

"Fine cuisine and private rooms for ladies, which was well understood to mean, private rooms to entertain men," said Blair.

From Seattle, Friedrich Trump moved to the Snohomish County gold mining town of Monte Cristo, opening a hotel and restaurant.

"Where he offered the same services, food, liquor, access to women and managed to get quite a nest egg together," said Blair.

Blair said when she interviewed "The Donald" about his grandfather's entrepreneurial past, there was little interest.

“He was not very interested in talking about history, his grandfather. Donald is a guy who's looking forward.  He does not have a rear view mirror. He very was interested in talking about his own, considerable accomplishments.”

Comedy Channel comedian John Oliver is obsessed with Trump's genealogy, particularly the Trump family name. 

Before it was Americanized, the name was "Drumpf."

On Sunday’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” the host joked, "That's why tonight, I'm asking America to make Donald Drumpf again, hashtag ‘makedonalddrumpfagain.’" 

While some find humor, others like Kim Masseo see a valuable lesson. 

She works at Union Gospel Mission in Pioneer Square.

"I think this is a very interesting part of town to be the starting point of Donald Trump, if you look around, kind of the center of our homeless population.  I don't know, maybe there's a message in that," said Masseo.

After leaving Washington state, Friedrich Trump headed north for business opportunities in the Yukon. 

He died during the flu pandemic at the age of 49.

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