This is Trump Island.


(LiDAR imagery via San Juan County, Wash.)

It's located in an archipelago of islands off the coast of Washington, nestled into a crook northwest of Seattle roughly bounded by Canada on the north and west. The chain is called the San Juan Islands, and it features other locales with evocative names. There's Skull Island, in Massacre Bay. Cliff Island in Wasp Passage. Whale Rocks, just to the west of Mummy Rocks. But none so evocative in the moment as Trump Island.

Especially because Trump Island is for sale. And if you're curious about what ownership of Trump Island might cost, a hint: That circular pockmark at the lower center of the island is built for helicopter landings.

That image is a laser scan of the island that doesn't do it justice. The helicopter pad adjoins an 8,000-square-foot home laid out in a cross pattern, featuring six bedrooms, six full- or partial-bathrooms on 29 acres of property. Five thousand feet of saltwater shoreline.


The home on Trump Island. (Leigh Zwicker/Windemere Properties)

Helicopter landings are only meant in the event of emergencies, mind you. Leigh Zwicker, who's hoping to sell the property (via the wisely named TrumpIsland.com), explained the more common ways to access the property.

"You can come in by boat" -- half an hour from nearby Anacortes -- "you can come in by seaplane," she explained. "The owner used to have a seaplane, so the dock accommodates that as well."

Asking price? $7.75 million. Street address? 1 Trump Island, Trump Island, Wash.

I was understandably curious about the genesis of the name. Zwicker assured me that it was unrelated to the Trump family, but it's a fair question to ask.

Donald Trump's grandfather, Friedrich Trump, emigrated from Germany to the United States in 1885. He landed in New York City but eventually made his way west, settling in Seattle. In November 1891, he bought a restaurant at 208 Washington Street in in the city for $600. (This history is from Gwenda Blair's "The Trumps," a history of the family.) It was in Seattle that Friedrich became a citizen -- on Oct. 27, 1892, just in time to register to vote in the 1892 presidential election, the first for which Washington was eligible to cast its ballots. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer listed Trump as a registered voter shortly before the November election.


Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Nov. 1892. (Library of Congress)

This is the first time a member of the Trump family voted in a presidential election. Assuming he voted.

The timing of Friedrich Trump's arrival is important. Kevin Loftus, executive director of the San Juan Historical Museum, says that the name of Trump Island likely extended prior to Trump's grandfather's arrival. "The name has been used since at least the mid 1870s as determined by the Washington State Board of Geographic Names in 1976," he explained by email on Friday. "The name appeared in a 1917 publication, Geographic Dictionary of Washington and in a 1927 doctoral thesis by University of Washington student entitled the Geology of the San Juan Islands."

It also appears in the inaugural edition of the San Juan Islander newspaper. Three men were caught poaching sheep on the island. They were arrested and fined $50 a piece, and their boat was seized.


San Juan Islander, Mar. 1891. (Library of Congress)

That article ran on March 6, 1891. (We know that was the first edition of the newspaper because the story is quoted in full in a 1913 edition of the paper that explores that initial version.) That the island is referred to as Trump Island without notice likely before Friedrich Trump even arrived in the city settles the question. How it got the name remains a mystery.

There almost was a "Trump Island" linked to the Donald Trump Trumps, though. In 1994, the president-elect tried to buy Davids Island in Long Island Sound to build a condominium complex. That fell through, despite Trump assuring the New York Times that "We've gotten 400 to 500 letters from people saying: 'We love this job. Do it. Don't let anything deter you.'"

Trump could have been the proud owner of Seattle's Trump Island, too.

Shortly before he began running for president, Zwicker, the real estate agent, used a connection to try and bring the listing to the real estate magnate's attention.

"I did send him the information," she told me. "I did send it to him when it came on the market. I had a person that was interested in the property and had connections to him. He helped me get the information out to him, but of course he probably never actually got it in his hands."

Or maybe he's still working on the deal. After all, he can probably convert one of his aircraft to a seaplane fairly easily.