John E. White Park
John E. White Playground
What was here before?
John E. White Park is in the Staten Island neighborhood of Fort Wadsworth, which takes its name from the nearby military installation overlooking the Narrows. As early as 1663, the British controlled a fortification there, and it is from Fort Wadsworth that General Howe launched his attack on the colonists of Brooklyn. British troops maintained control of the fort until the end of the American Revolution.
This property was first noted in a deed from 1862 to local businessman Owen W. Brennan. There is no record of Brennan selling the property, and it is likely he retained it until the State of New York took it over due to nonpayment of taxes by 1895.
How did this site become a park?
In 1934, New York State transferred this undeveloped property and several others to the City for $7.00, to be used for park and playground purposes. The title was officially vested in New York City in June 1938 and the park was named John E. White Playground in 1940.
The site went under construction in 2021 and now features new play equipment, spray shower, fencing, pavements, benches, and new plantings.
Who is this park named for?
This park honors Staten Island World War I veteran John Edward White (1893-1917) who served in the 4th Truck Company, Ammunition Train of the Coast Artillery. He suffered a fatal gunshot wound and died in France on December 23rd, 1917.
Born in Fort Wadsworth, Staten Island, White served as a trainman for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in St. George, Staten Island. White enlisted in the United States Army to fight in World War I (1914-1918) and became a member of the Allied Expeditionary Force. He gave his life assisting in the defeat of Germany.