Anne “Annie” (McKenzie) White Whittier was born in Scotland and immigrated to Canada where she married and had a son, Wilmot White. On November 15, 1883, Anne became the third wife of Dr. Clarke Whittier in Riverside. The couple had what amounted to an early form of pre-nuptial agreement. The day before their marriage, Dr. Whittier signed over to Annie the property known as Whittier’s subdivision, an area bounded by University Avenue, Market Street, Tenth Street, and Chestnut Street. Annie agreed in return to have no claim on any future property Dr. Whittier might acquire.
The Whittier subdivision included the land that is now White Park. Dr. Whittier had purchased the property with the agreement that he would reclaim the land, which had become a swamp, and make it a community park. In exchange for draining the land, he would be able to build a sanitarium, where people who were ill could come and rejuvenate themselves in the mild, dry, warm climate. The Holyrood was constructed at the corner of University and Market. It never opened as a hospital but people did come and stay there and Frank A. Miller leased the building as an annex for the Glenwood Hotel. Later, David Cochrane improved it and operated it as the Hotel Plaza. Today, Riverside City College owns the land and has built offices and arts facilities on the site.
Annie’s first home faced University Avenue, near the corner of Fairmount. Dr. Whittier adopted Annie’s son, Wilmot, and gave him the Whittier name. At some point, Annie’s brother, Roderick McKenzie, and his family came to Riverside and lived in a house that Dr. Whittier had built earlier on Magnolia Avenue in the Arlington area.
But Dr. Whittier left Annie and went to North Carolina to found the town of Whittier in Swain County. His health was poor when he left Riverside, though. He died in 1887, and at his request, he was buried on the hill overlooking his new town.
Annie began to develop the Whittier subdivision, creating several streets including Whittier Place and Hidalgo Place. In 1889, legal steps were taken to make the park site the property of the city of Riverside and the park was named after Albert S. White in 1909. In about 1893, Annie built a new home on the corner of University and Chestnut.
In 1907, Annie moved to Long Beach. Wilmot married and lived in Escondido. Annie died in 1914.