Description and Photos by Frank White
(grandson of John J. White)
Family of John Joseph White boating on the lake, 1899 or 1900.
John Joseph, my paternal Grandfather, had the "boat and refreshments concession" for the park from 1897 through 1905. This was a series of two-year contracts recorded in Park Board minutes from the era. The concession business was supplemental income for John as his primary occupation was lay teacher at St. Vincent's College from 1897 to his death in January 1909.
John was born in Dublin in 1863 of English parents. In 1890 he moved to Los Angeles and seemed to assimilate into the "French Colony." He taught at the French School in what is now Eagle Rock in the early 1890s, tried to start some private schools in Boyle Heights and Lincoln Heights in the mid nineties and eventually landed the teaching position at St. Vincent's, which is now Loyola Marymount.
John probably commuted from Lincoln Heights via trolley car to the campus on Grand very near what is now the Olympic Auditorium. He probably spent his weekends at the park supervising the concessions. When he died in 1909 of tuberculosis, he left his wife, Octavia, and five boys with little or no money, and they were helped by the French community and charitable institutions of the Church. Octavia died nearly destitute in 1919 (the famous influenza outbreak that killed millions worldwide), and the younger boys were farmed out to French relatives and orphanages.
Family of John Joseph White posing on Palm Walk in Eastlake Park, 1899 or 1900.
The pictures show John with his French wife Naomie Octavia Faure, her sister Augustine and John's first son John Octavius White, who was born in April 1898. Ocatvia, as she was known, is holding the baby in both pictures. The Faure sisters were recent immigrants from the French Alps and worked as domestics before marrying. John and Octavia lived at 437 South Johnston Street just a few blocks west of the park and were members of Sacred Heart Church over on Sichel Street. Their modest Victorian house still stands at the Northwest corner of Darwin and Johnston. They had five boys between 1898 and 1907, my Father Frank being the youngest. An interesting fact is nearly all of the five boys worked at one time or another at the boathouse long after their Father had died. The boys worked for the Daze family of Griffin Avenue who had concessions in the park beginning with the Carousel around 1910. The oldest Daze son, Bill Daze, eventually built a major business empire across California running public concessions, many boathouses.
When Mr. Daze died in 1982, the LA Times referred to him as the "Admiral of MacArthur Park." John White, the baby in the pictures, started a career as a concession manager with the Daze family at Lincoln Park sometime in the late 19 teens. For most of his life John O. White managed the Daze's motorboat concession at the old Rainbow Pier in Long Beach.
Here is the photo of 437 (old numbering) Johnston St. Five sons were born in the house. This photo was probably taken just before the birth of fifth in 1907. From left to right, the White boys are Harry, Art, Edward, and John. Frank, my Father, is yet to be born in June 1907. John Joseph died in 1909, and Naomie owned the house until her death in 1919 when it was sold to pay off her debts. The house is still there at the northwest corner of Johnston and Darwin, and looks essentially the same except for the concrete porch and the front door has been moved to be perpendicular to the street. Thanks for the website which has given me real images of things I remember my Father told about over 40 years ago. My Dad was a pressman for the LA Times, and I was raised in El Monte, leaving there in 1967 to do a career in the Air Force.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
I had the pleasure meeting Frank White and his wife Tricia. They stopped by to see me here at Lincoln Park on a Sunday afternoon. They made a special visit to the park during their stay in Los Angeles from Colorado Springs. I took them on a small tour around the park.
Tricia and Frank White
by the boathouse
I would like to thank Frank and Tricia for stopping by to see me and they are my first "live" visitors concerning this website.
Thanks for your wonderful contribution! javier 9/21/02