Born in 1905 in the Bronx section of New York City and raised in Queens, Fred Trump knew from an early age that he wanted to work with his hands. His goal was to be a carpenter, but when he was 13, his father died so he had to help support his mother and a younger brother by working in a local fruit store for 12 hours a day, earning $5 a week.
At age 15, Trump went into the real estate development and construction business. He graduated from high school in 1922, and the following year, he built his first house. Throughout the late 1920s, he constructed sing-family houses. He later built barracks and garden apartments for the U.S. Navy along the East Coast during World War II, and middle-income housing for the returning veterans and their families after the war had ended.
Trump went on to build one of the most substantial real estate empires in the United States, later managing more than 25,000 apartment units, most of which he built himself, during a career spanning more than 70 years.