|Origins||Settled c. 1868 and annexed in 1889|
Pershing Road on the north, Garfield Boulevard in the south, EL tracks by La Salle Street on the east, railroad tracks on the west
|Gangs founded||Mickey Cobras,|
|Gangs headquartered||Mickey Cobras, Vice Lords,|
Fuller Park was first settled by Irish immigrants in the later 1860s after the Union Stock Yards opened on Christmas Day 1865. This area became a part of the Lake Township area and after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 the opening of the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad brought growth to the neighborhood.
In the year 1889 this area was annexed into the city of Chicago because all of Lake Township was annexed that year, then right after the annexation German and Austrian immigrants settled here among the Irish.
African American migration came to this community very early in time around the turn of the 20th century. The first black families settled at 51st and Shields. Nine black families moved into this little area right at the turn of the century (Race Riot: Chicago in the Red Summer of 1919 by Willam M. Tuttle Jr. 1970/1996 Urbana. Illini PressPages 54-55). This original black settlement would be removed in 1958 when the Dan Ryan Expressway construction began. There was much racial conflict and I found an article for the Chicago Tribune that talks about an incident where white youths tried to lynch a black youth from a tree. The article was from 1904.
In the year 1912 Fuller Park was established that provided recreation and the neighborhood was named Fuller Park after Melville W. Fuller a Chicago attorney and Chief Justice. During World War I the neighborhood experienced migration of Mexican, African American and Slavic workers in the many industries in nearby neighborhoods.
Irish and German immigrants moved out of the neighborhood completely by the 1920s. Slavic residents made up 90% of the community going into the 1930s. Black migration would also grow slightly.
Fuller Park was always a neighborhood that housed Chicago’s working classes and lower income classes; therefore, it never blossomed into a significant community and was always small in size consisting of being a two-mile strip of land. The area remained mostly white all the way through World War II.
After the war many Slavic families moved out of the neighborhood because they experienced upward mobility and Fuller Park was so poor that almost 25% of residents did not have toilets and had to use an outhouse in their yards which was very disturbing for 1950s standards of living as toilets had now become standard well before 1950.
In the year 1958, the Dan Ryan Expressway construction effectively eliminated a 30% chunk of this neighborhood near Princeton Street. Many black youths all over the city were relocated and many came to Fuller Park causing the African American population to explode. At first when Fuller Park black youths arrived in large numbers there was racial strife and discrimination which led to the formation of the Egyptian Cobras gang that was born on these streets along Princeton. This group defended black youths and gave them a group to look up to.
In the 1960s and 1970s Fuller Park fell into deeper economic depression as the Union Stock Yards that employed many blacks continued steady layoffs until it closed in 1971.
Residents of Fuller Park had a very tough time finding employment after the closure of the stock yards and the neighborhood became consumed by drug and gang violence. Commercial development, renovations and even bank loans for renovating property became non-existent by the 1970s as redlining and disinvestment fully sunk in, the neighborhood then became one of Chicago’s heavily blighted communities.
Most property in Fuller Park is rented property and the neighborhood also has had the highest rate of single income homes. Fuller Park has also been rated as one of the most dangerous Chicago neighborhoods many times experiencing a high rate of violent crime. Minimal urban renewal has come to this community, and it remains of Chicago’s poorest and dangerous neighborhoods. The Fuller Park neighborhood is a blighted area with several run down and abandoned buildings while many vacant lots and several shuttered homes line the streets of Fuller Park. Many homes and buildings have stood vacant for several decades, but tax revenues are not high enough to justify tearing many of these properties down.
The Mickey Cobras, formerly known as Egyptian Cobras, have always heavily dominated this neighborhood with no other major forces settling these borders besides Mafia Insane Vice Lords. These gangs mainly battle with attacking outside gangs since Fuller Park is a rather small community.
The significant gangs to have walked these streets over time are:
Mickey Cobras Established 1958 as Egyptian Cobras
44th to 45th, Shields to Wentworth (4-4 THF)
47th to 49th, Shields to Wentworth (Back Block Dogpound)
51st to 55th, Shields to Wentworth (ATL World)
50th & Princeton (Outlaws)
43rd & Princeton (Founding section) Established 1958
43rd to 51st, Shields to Dan Ryan Expressway (West Territory)
Mafia Insane Vice Lords
Root to 43rd, Shields to Wentworth (Princeton Mobb)
41st & Princeton
43rd & Princeton
All images below are photos of buildings that were vacant at the time the photo was taken. All images are courtesy of Google Maps.