Origins Annexed c. 1889
Area Southwest Side

Pershing on the north, 49th on the south, railroad tracks on the east, Halsted on the west

Gangs headquartered Satan Disciples, Insane Deuces,

The history of Canaryville is mostly intertwined with neighboring Back of the Yards neighborhood as they both are part of the overall New City neighborhood.  Canaryville and Back of the Yards are sub-neighborhoods of the overall New City area.

Canaryville started off just like the Back of the Yards in the later 1860s as ran down area lined with shacks and poorly constructed cottages right after the Union Stock Yards were opened on Christmas Day in 1865.  The most significant features of Back of the Yards and Canaryville was high crime, Irish gangs, urban blights, pollution, and corruption in the 19th century.

A strong Irish Catholic community developed in New City that was especially prevalent in Canaryville. Canaryville began to become distinguished from Back of the Yards in the late 19th century when people began calling this area east of Halsted “Canaryville” either because of the many wild Irish gang bangers that behaved like “wild canaries” or because of the many canaries that fed off waste from the stockyards.  The origin on the name is contested and I don’t even know the exact year the name became official but distinction from Back of the Yards began to take form in the year 1898 when Frank Ragen formed the Morgan Athletic Club.  In 1912 this Irish gang became re-named the Ragen’s Colts.

The Ragen’s Colts grew to run this neighborhood as the biggest Irish gang in perhaps the whole city.  The Ragen’s Colts had early hangouts in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, but they would shape Canaryville into what it would become in later years.  Canaryville was known as a tough neighborhood thanks to the Ragen’s Colts and their fights with neighboring gangs.

The Ragen’s Colts became increasingly known during the 1919 race riots that claimed the lives of many Chicagoans as whites and blacks attacked each other on the south side streets.  The heart of this gang violence happened in between Canaryville and Douglas.  The Ragen’s Colts stormed the first black enclave in Fuller Park attacking the first 9 black families to settle at 51st and Shields.  The Colts beat these families, destroyed their homes then burned the homes down.  They gave a harsh warning to these black families that if they told anyone the Colts would come back and kill them.

The Ragen’s Colts would dissolve in 1927 but their spirit continued after they dissolved as the community continued a strong Irish Catholic community.  Eventually Irish organized crime lost most influence in Chicago after the Great Depression years of the 1930s and by the time World War 2 ended Canaryville became a middle class and working-class neighborhood.

In the 1960s several greaser gangs formed on these streets to battle other greaser gangs from Back of the Yards and other surrounding areas.  Gangs like Subnormals, Uniques, Garage Boys and the Brotherhood fought for these streets in the 60s.

Other than some greaser gang activity in the 1960s and earlier 1970s Canaryville has been a quiet community on the south side with low crime rates and much of this is due to the area being a tight nit community that keeps property values higher.  Neighbors look out for each other and help one another.  The community has always striven to move in only people that know each other to prevent outsiders from taking over.

Beginning in around 1990 Canaryville experienced a light sprinkling of Mexican migration but remaining vast majority white.  Residents of Canaryville were very interested in keeping their community white in the 20th century and would often react violently when blacks would come into the neighborhood.  Over the years there have been news reports of blacks being attacked when trying to pass through this community.  Because of this the black population of Canaryville has been low.  When demographics info comes out for New City it shows a large black population but that is because that population is not usually within Canaryville borders.

I do not have exact dates, but I can say the Insane Deuces, Latin Kings and Satan Disciples settled this community in the 1990s.  These gangs migrated to this community alongside a small Hispanic migration wave as these groups protected Hispanic youths from falling victim to groups of whites, on the other hand, Insane Popes settled in the neighborhood in the 1990s for white youths to battle against these organizations especially the Satan Disciples. In the 2000s-decade Insane Popes left the area and by the 2010s Latin Kings left the area.  The neighborhood has long been dominated by Insane Deuces and Satan Disciples since the 1990s.  Both gangs hate each other deeply and are violent toward each other.

Canaryville is one of the safer neighborhoods in Chicago, but crime stats often get swept in with Back of the Yards crime as Back of the Yards is one of the more dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago.


Latin Kings 90s, 2000s, 2010s

Emerald from 47th to 49th 90s, 2000s, 2010s

Insane Deuces 90s-present years

43rd to 47th, Halsted to Union (Spade Town) 90s-present years

Satan Disciples 90s-present years

47th to 49th, Halsted to Union 90s-present years

43rd & Lowe 90s-present years

Insane Popes (south side group) 90s, 2000s

48th & Halsted 90s, 2000s