• U.S.

Living: 115 Rms, Ocn Vu

1 minute read

As white elephants go, it is like Xanadu revisited. Mar-a-Lago, the former Marjorie Merriweather Post mansion in Palm Beach, lies dormant, its 115 rooms shuttered, its fountains dry, its citrus grove, four greenhouses and nine-hole golf course seedy and overgrown. When the cereal heiress died in 1973, she willed the 17-acre oceanfront estate—built in 1927 at a cost of $8 million—to the U.S. Government as a retreat for Presidents and foreign dignitaries. Alas, her posthumous hospitality had virtually no takers. Congress was reluctant to maintain Mar-a-Lago (Spanish for Sea-to-Lake) and equally reluctant to give it up, which thwarted efforts by local politicians to turn it over to the Post Foundation.

Now Congress has allocated $100,000 a year toward its upkeep. But even with a further $220,000 from the Post Foundation, the amount falls far short of the estimated $1 million a year required to keep the place in proper trim. Clearly, this Post serial will be continued.

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