No major damage at Mar-a-Lago
Like other homes in Palm Beach, Mar-a-Lago — President Donald Trump’s “winter White House” — appears to have come through the outer bands of Hurricane Irma without major wind damage.
A phone call to the private club went immediately to voicemail on Monday. But a neighbor who lives on the street just north of Mar-aLago said he spoke with a maintenance worker at the club. There were minor interior roof leaks but no major damage.
George Buff IV, a Mar-a-Lago member, said the worker reported three trees down and that the back parking lot at the club had experienced major flooding.
A drive by the property showed that the landscaping had been thinned along the south wall, and the ballroom windows were intact. Vegetation littered the roadway south of the club.
Palm Beach officials confirmed Monday that they had received no reports of structural damage at the landmarked mansion-turned-private club.
“Our emergency personnel and other staff have made the rounds of the island since the storm hit, and no one has reported any major structural problems” to any building, including Mar-a-Lago, said Mayor Gail Coniglio.
Public Safety Director Kirk Blouin said police had not been called to the club’s South Ocean Boulevard address in response to any problems at Mar-a-Lago since Hurricane Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys on Sunday morning.
Mar-a-Lago stands on about 17 acres that stretch between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway.
The elaborate Mediterranean-style mansion completed in 1927 has withstood a number of hurricanes, thanks in part to its strong foundation. The building is anchored deep in the coral rock beneath it.
Winds in Palm Beach associated with Irma were largely limited to tropical storm strength. But occasional hurricane-strength gusts were possible Sunday and even early Monday as the storm made its way north on the opposite side of the state. Because of the storm’s enormous size, wind and rain from it could be felt in Palm Beach.
Landscaping throughout the island was damaged by the storm.
But the island was spared the massive storm surge that had been predicted when Irma’s track was closer to the east coast. Flooding from the Intracoastal Waterway did not pose a major problem, Blouin confirmed.
Windows at Mar-a-Lago were shuttered, and the staff made other preparations last week once Irma’s forecast included South Florida.
Cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post and her financier husband, E.F. Hutton, built the mansion as their winter home.
Trump bought it in the mid-1980s and lived there. He opened his club there a decade after he bought the property and continues to maintain residential quarters for himself and his family.
Mar-a-Lago appears to have suffered little damage from Hurricane Irma. Three trees fell and the back parking lot experienced flooding, a worker said.