Trumbull Park Homes
Trumbull Park Homes

Trumbull Park Homes

Hood(s) South Deering;

105th Street on the north, 109th Street on the south, Bensely Avenue on the east, Oglesby Avenue on the west

Lifecycle 1938 – 1939, Construction;
Controlling gangs Gangster Disciples; Vice Lords;

The Trumbull Park Homes are one of the first public housing projects built in Chicago.  The buildings were constructed in the year 1938 with 55 buildings consisting of both 2 story row houses and 3 and 4 story apartment buildings with 486 units total to house impoverished white residents that were suffering from the Great Depression and were looking to obtain future employment in the many industries on the far south side of Chicago and this was, this project would serve as temporary housing for them.

The South Deering neighborhood and these projects were notorious for wanting to remain all white in the early days.  In 1952 a Argentinian woman moved into these buildings and was tormented to the point that she did not even live there an entire week, then in August of 1953 the Howard family moved into the projects which was a mistake made by the CHA as they thought Betty Howard was white.  The family moved to 10630 Bensely Avenue (106th and Bensley) and was taunted by onslaughts of racial slurs and rocks and stink bombs that were thrown at them and their apartment.  The torment was so bad that the Howards needed to be escorted everywhere by Chicago Police.

By October the CHA and the police cracked down on the violence and the rioting as the CHA threatened to evict anyone that tormented the Howards and soon enough over a dozen evictions were handed out to rowdy residents as 10 more black families moved in to take their places.  The violence and hate continued all the way until 1957 as white residents in the Trumbull Park housing continued protesting African Americans.

In the year 1963 the CHA mandated that African Americans now had the right to live in these buildings but there was not much protest.  The projects remained mostly white until the late 1970s when Wisconsin Steel, a major employer in South Deering, began massive layoffs and white flight occurred in large volumes in the neighborhood.

By the year 1980 the projects were all Mexican and African American.  African American street gangs came to these projects like the Conservative Vice Lords and Gangster Disciples as they engaged in a vicious gang war in these buildings.

The Mexican youths started their own gangs the Spanish Vice Lords and King Cobras to fight against rival black gangs and each other.  For a long time in the 80s and 90s it was Gangsters Disciples and King Cobras versus the Conservative Vice Lords and Spanish Vice Lords until SVLs and KCs were ran out of the projects in the 1990s.

Although South Deering became one of the more violent neighborhoods in Chicago and poverty ran rampant in the neighborhood, these projects endured and did not succumb to extreme deterioration because the CHA took care of them.  These projects remained a mix of African American and Mexican residents through the years since the 1980s.  The projects have received renovations in the 2000s decade and still remain standing.