Vehicle stickers to honor Arlington Heights' first Black resident

  • Frank White, Arlington Heights' first Black resident who was president and charter member of the village's original volunteer fire department, will be featured on the 2022 village vehicle sticker.

    Frank White, Arlington Heights' first Black resident who was president and charter member of the village's original volunteer fire department, will be featured on the 2022 village vehicle sticker. Courtesy of Village of Arlington Heights

 
 
Posted8/5/2021 5:30 AM

Arlington Heights will pay homage to one of the town's early leaders and first Black resident on next year's village vehicle sticker.

Frank White, charter member and president of the first all-volunteer fire department in Arlington Heights in 1894, will be featured on the sticker that residents display on their vehicles in 2022.

 

In the black-and-white photo, White is pictured in his fire department uniform, complete with medals, buttons and a captain's hat.

It's believed White came to Arlington Heights with his wife, Fanny, in 1888 and helped start the fire department six years later. At four decades of service, White resigned and was recognized with an honorary lifetime membership in the department.

White also owned five successful barber shops in town that were known to be regular hangouts for the civic-minded, and where the latest local political gossip could be found.

In announcing the 2022 vehicle sticker cover, village officials said White's accomplishments are even more notable considering he was one of only three Black residents of Arlington Heights in the late 19th century.

A display celebrating White's life and contributions to the community will be installed this fall near the finance department counter in village hall, where residents typically line up ahead of the Jan. 1 sticker purchase deadline.

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The staff from the Arlington Heights Historical Museum and Arlington Heights Fire Department helped gather artifacts and photos for the display.

"The more we dig, the more we're able to find," said Village Manager Randy Recklaus, who initially announced plans to honor White in January as part of the village's diversity, equity and inclusion project.

White left town shortly after his wife -- a talented artist who specialized in oil paintings -- died in 1947.

The couple didn't have children. He went to live with his niece and died in 1953 at the age of 90 at Lake Forest Infirmary.

Funeral services were held in his birthplace of downstate Geneseo.

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