Brighton Park
Brighton Park

Brighton Park

Origins Settled by Henry Seymour in 1835 and annexed in 1889
Area Southwest Side

Stevenson Expressway on the north, Orange line EL tracks on the south, Western Boulevard on the east, railroad tracks by Archer and 47th on the west

Gangs headquartered Two Six, Satan Disciples, Latin Kings,

Henry Seymour was the first to claim this land in 1835 as he subdivided the land, from there settlers of Irish, Native American and German Decent came to the area and built their homes until a community started that officially became known as “Brighton” in 1840. The area became known “Village of Brighton Park” in 1851 all near Western Avenue.

The 1850s saw further growth of the community once the Brighton Racetrack opened in 1855 and a stockyard was built in 1857 at Archer Avenue and Western Avenue.  More industries were built in the 1860s and 1870s like Northwestern Horse Nail Company in the late 1860s, Laflin and Rand Company and the Brighton Cotton Mill in 1872 and Brighton silver smelting and refining company in 1873.  This entire boom in industry attracted many more Irish and German settlers to this prospering community into the 1890s.

After annexation into the city of Chicago in 1889, French immigrants and Jewish immigrants took up residence in the community.  In the 1900s decade Polish, Lithuanian and Italian immigrants made their way into this neighborhood especially after the Central Manufacturing District opened between nearby McKinley Park and Bridgeport in 1905.

In the year 1915 the area would thrive even more with the opening of Crane Manufacturing Company and Kenwood Manufacturing District.  This area would even fare well during the Great Depression Era of the 1930s decade and the decades after.

In the 1950s some white greaser gangs formed in the neighborhood mainly to battle other greaser gangs out of the nearby Back of The Yards and Gage Park neighborhoods, the most notorious greaser club were the “Dunlops” that made the newspaper in the 1950s for arson and attempted murder.

In the 1970s, the biggest group to rule Brighton Park was the Heads.  The Heads mainly were found on 42nd Street but were probably the biggest group in Brighton Park.  The Heads were very concerned about their neighborhood being rested away by other cultures.  They saw how neighborhood after neighborhood on the south side succumbed to poverty, drugs, and a new cultural take over; therefore, they cliqued together to help fight for the neighborhood.  It just so happened that many of the outsiders that were about to migrate were Mexican; therefore, it became a racial battle.

In the year 1977, Crane Manufacturing Company closed permanently which cost many of Brighton Park jobs.  Those that lost their jobs packed their bags and headed for the suburbs seeking other employment opportunities and the move out was rapid in the late 1970s to the point where 33% had moved out by 1980.  Starting in the late 1970s Mexican migrants flooded into Brighton Park to take residence in those homes that the Crane workers left behind.  Very rapidly the neighborhood had a Mexican identity to go with the Polish identity.

Beginning in the year 1977, Majority Mexican street gangs began moving into this area starting with Two Sixs at 38th and Albany in 1977 and the Satan Disciples moved in as both gangs became strong in this area.  Both gangs fought again the Heads of 42nd Street in the late 1970s.

Packs of white youths bullied Mexican youths trying to intimidate them into leaving.  Some white youths did this because they felt threatened by this cultural shock and this led many Hispanic youths to join the ranks of the Satan Disciples and Two Six to fight back.

Even though Satan Disciples and Two Six were technically allies under the Folk alliance they always had animosity on these streets since both groups arrived because there was too much competition for territory and not enough common enemies to fight especially after the Heads dissolved in the mid-1980s.

Many white families could not afford white flight and had no choice but to stay here.  By the mid-1980s white youths became bullied as Mexican migration grew stronger.  Gangs like Two Six and Satan Disciples especially victimized many groups of white youths prompting the Insane Popes of the south side to move into this neighborhood and fight against Satan Disciples and Two Six.  The Taylor Jousters also arrived in 1986 that would aid the Popes against the Folks.  This was another group for frustrated white youths.

Brighton Park soon became one of the tougher neighborhoods of Chicago in the 1980s and 1990s as gang wars became vicious; the 1990s were probably the worst decade. Scores of various gangs would move into this neighborhood but would only come and go.  The Jouster and Popes withdrew from these streets by the mid-1990s as the neighborhood was almost completely Hispanic and white flight became easier for more impoverished white youths.  Any white youths left interested in gangs joined Satan Disciples and Two Six.

In the 21st century Brighton Park has slowed down in gang activity and violence but still has gang activity and some above average crime issues.  This neighborhood is a rougher community in Chicago but is not all-out dangerous and quite livable.

The dominant gangs used to be Heads and Insane Popes but has become Satan Disciples and Two Six

The significant gangs to have walked these streets over time are:


40th & Sacramento

Latin Counts

42nd & Fairfield

Almighty Popes

46th & Whipple


42nd Pl & Albany

Two Six Established 1977

38th to 39th, Kedzie to Francisco (Terror Town) Established 1977

42nd to 44th, Kedzie to Richmond

46th to 47th, Kedzie to Albany (No Love Ville)

46th & Mozart

46th & Whipple

36th & Washtenaw

38th & Washtenaw

Satan Disciples Established 1977

38th to 40th, Rockwell to Western

Archer to 48th California to Western (No Love City) Established 1977

47th to 48th, California to Western (4-7)

45th & Sawyer

La Raza

43rd & Mozart

Insane Popes (south side group)

43rd to 47th, Drake to Kedzie

Taylor Jousters Established 1986

45th & Rockwell Established 1986-1987

46th & Rockwell Established 1987-1995


All over but mainly found along 42nd street

Imperial Gangsters 80s-1993

45th & Spaulding 80s-1993