In 1968, the Chicago Park District, the Board of Education, and the Public Building Commission began developing a jointly-operated school and park in the growing far south side West Pullman community. Plans provided for a new school building, as well as a separate fieldhouse that would serve as the high school's gymnasium during school hours and accommodate park programs during evenings and weekends. By 1972, playground equipment, baseball diamonds, basketball and tennis courts, and plantings surrounded the two structures.In 1990, the park district replanted the landscape and installed a new soft surface playground. Early the following year, the Board of Education formally acquired the property from the park district, which now leases White Park.
Both the park and the adjacent school honor American astronaut Edward H. White (1930-1967). Born in San Antonio, Texas, White graduated from the U.S. Military Academy before becoming a fighter pilot. In 1958, he entered the University of Michigan's Air Force Institute of Technology, and four years later became one of nine people chosen to enter NASA's astronaut training program. Several years later, White was chosen to fly the first long-duration space flight. During the June 1965 Gemini IV flight, White became the first American to walk in space. Not long thereafter, NASA officials selected White as senior pilot for the first Apollo mission. Tragically, White and fellow crewmen Virgil "Gus" Grissom and Roger Chaffee died in a launchpad fire at Cape Canaveral on January 27, 1967.