Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


Among the numerous beautiful "show places" in Monterey county there is none perhaps that attracts more admiring attention on the part of the people of the county and the thousands of tourists who annually travel the highways of the Pacific Grove country than does the wonderful Pacific Grove Nursery, developed there under the loving nurture of Murray E. White, who has come to be recognized as one of the leading floriculturists and horticulturists of this beautiful land of the flowers. Though not as large a tract as is comprised within some of the greater nurseries of the state, the three and a half acres developed in the establishment of the Pacific Grove Nursery is a veritable bower of beauty, its charm attracting the admiring attention of all who come under the spell of the wondrous profusion of flowers there under cultivation, and it is but fitting that in this definite history of the region this establishment does so much to adorn, there should be carried a story of the manner in which this nursery came into being.

The Pacific Grove Nursery is a development growing out of an interesting experiment undertaken in 1920 by Murray E. White, a professional photographer and an instinctive lover of the beautiful in nature, who in that year became established in business in Pacific Grove, after years of professional experience in other parts of the state. Upon his arrival in Pacific Grove, Mr. White realized the possibilities of floricultural development and he bought a tract of three and one-half acres of uncultivated land at the entrance to the Seventeen Mile Drive. He had this tract cleared of its native timber and turned up a rich dark loam, which was found highly adaptable to the uses for which he designed it, and on that tract he began to specialize in the cultivation of gladioluses, those brilliant iridaceous plants, natives chiefly of Africa though found also in Europe and Asia, and brought to high cultivation particularly in Holland. The gladiolus seemed perfectly at home in this soil and it was not long until Mr. White began to realize that he was on the way to a great success in its cultivation. Since that time he has increased the number of varieties of these attractive plants on his place until now there are no fewer than one hundred and fifty such, many of which are of imported Holland stock, and his bulbs are in wide demand, the price of these bulbs ranging from ten cents to thirty dollars, according to variety. He also has created a wide and growing market for bulbs of various others of the monocotyledonous plants, particularly the lily and the tulip, and his nursery has come to be recognized as one of the best in this region. The hybrid amaryllis also is one of his specialties, a profuse variety being offered in this department, and then there are many of the standard plants for garden and lawn decorative purposes. Mr. Wnite also has done much with strawberries, particularly of the celebrated brandy-wine variety, and with the ranaree variety of the red raspberry and the black cap variety of the black raspberry. This nursery also is able to furnish almost anything in the way of ornamental shrubbery and its products are in wide and popular demand hereabout.

Murray E. White, proprietor of the Pacific Grove Nursery, was born in Shingle-house, Potter county, Pennsylvania, April 27, 1884, and was early trained in the art and mystery of photography, in time becoming a commercial photographer in.his home state. In 1908 he came to California and became engaged in business as a professional photographer in Mountain View, Santa Clara county, presently also becoming associated with G. D. Givens as a photographer at Menlo Park. For twelve years Mr. Whue remained in Mountain View and then, in 1920, moved to Pacific Grove, where he since has made his home. Upon locating in Pacific Grove Mr. White opened a gallery on Forest avenue, but in 1923 he sold that establishment and has since been devoting his whole attention to his nursery, the development of which gradually came to demand all of his time and in this new line he not only derives much personal satisfaction but a gratifying measure of profit, for he now has an established market for the products of his nursery and is projecting further extension of the business. At the fair held in Mountain View in 1923 Mr. White distributed seventy-eight dozen gladiolus bulbs and in that same year had a brilliant showing of his products at the Monterey industrial exhibit. Mr. White is a member of Monterey Lodge No. 1285, of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks.

Source: History of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, California : cradle of California's history and romance : dating from the planting of the cross of Christendom upon the shores of Monterey Bay by Fr. Junipero Serra, and those intrepid adventurers who accompanied him, down to the present day. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1925, 890 pgs.