|Origins||Annexed c. 1915|
|Area||Far Southwest Side|
59th on the north, 65th going down Cicero Ave to Marquette (67th) on the south, railroad tracks just east of Knox on the east, Harlem on the west
|Gangs founded||Almighty Popes,|
|Gangs headquartered||Satan Disciples, Two Six,|
During the earlier nineteenth century there wasn’t any rich history about the Clearing area as it was just barren land with scattered Dutch and German farmers living in the area. The most exciting event was U.S. Senator and Chicago Mayor John Wentworth buying all this land as his own and building his very own farmhouse in 1868 where 55th and Harlem currently is in the present-day Garfield Ridge neighborhood. Wentworth owned Garfield Ridge and Summit too. ( Fact source: http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/296.html#:~:text=Clearing%20received%20its%20name%20from,the%20rail%20congestion%20closer%20downtown.)
Nothing more exciting would happen here besides the origin of the name coming from the failed railroad switching yard ventures of A.B. Stickney. This switching yard idea in 1888 was to be called “Clearing” but it never materialized but the name stuck. The area just remained a rural farming area that had a name. ( Fact source: http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/296.html#:~:text=Clearing%20received%20its%20name%20from,the%20rail%20congestion%20closer%20downtown.)
After Wentworth died in 1888, his family began leasing land to Dutch Truck farmers.
In 1909, the area received a hardware store thanks to George Hill but nothing else. In 1912, the scattered farmers voted to incorporate Clearing as an official village and the vote was approved. It would take until 1915 when the Chicago Transfer and Clearing Company connected a freight car switching hub with 18 different industries which pushed the request beyond just Clearing becoming a village, now Clearing would be annexed into the city of Chicago. ( Fact source: http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/296.html#:~:text=Clearing%20received%20its%20name%20from,the%20rail%20congestion%20closer%20downtown.)
The opening of Midway Airport (then known as Municipal Airport) in 1927 brought jobs to this part of Chicago; however, Clearing only had a population of 5,434 in 1930. During the mid-century over 300 industrial companies opened their doors driving up employment, housing, and the population. This boom brought about the buildup of Chrysler Village in 1943 which was one of the first big subdivisions that extended from 63rd Street to 65th Street, Long to LaVergne.
In 1974 until 1984 job loss was big as these companies closed; however, as one door closed another opened as Midway Airport went on a hiring frenzy in 1985 keeping the area from hitting an economic depression or experiencing white flight.
I do not know if Clearing experienced 1950s and 1960s greaser gangs as I have heard no tales. I do know no significant street gangs claimed these streets well into the 1980s. It was not until 1989 when gangs started hanging out in this area but that was it.
In 1990, a new decade brought a new era to Clearing that perhaps surprised residents that now this quiet working-class white community now had gangs in their borders and it escalated quickly.
Beginning in about 1989, Mexican people began to migrate to Clearing as some whites left the area heading to the suburbs. 1989-1990 was a big period for Chicago’s far southwest siders to pack it up and head to the burbs and the most interested buyers/renters after white families left were Hispanic people. It all started as a culture shock as now there was a totally different culture on these streets and many residents and youths were not so kind to their new Hispanic neighbors and this is when Hispanic gangs like Satan Disciples and Two Six came to aid victimized Hispanic youths in 1989, hence, why gang activity started here in 89. Within no time Satan Disciples and Two Six began giving many white youths a hard time which led to anger toward these gangs. This is when angry white youths connected with the Insane Popes gang and Twelfth Street Players from Cicero for aid. In 1990, the conflict got so bad that Insane Popes, Twelfth Street Players Two Six and Satan Disciples formed official sections in this community, and they fought especially hard over 63rd Street.
The 1990s was the wildest times on these streets as murders and shootings began happening causing residents to scream for justice. This neighborhood was the home to many Chicago police officers and when one CPD officer’s son Brian Anderson shot two 13-year-old girls to death one December day in the year 1995 it caught massive media attention. The Almighty Popes street gang was teaming up with allies the Latin Counts to flush out an attempted section by the notorious Ridgeway Lords street gang. Almighty Popes and Ridgeway Lords already had a vicious rivalry in the suburb of Justice in the trailer homes near the 294 expressways now they were kicking off war on these streets. 15-year-old Brian Anderson saw a Ridgeway Lord van and became too overzealous shooting at the van trying to kill those two RLs; however, he didn’t realize there were two teen girls in the back. He didn’t even hit his intended targets but got two innocent lives. Brian Anderson got life in prison but his shocked Latin Count partner that had no idea the shooting was going to happen also got a life sentence. Police and investigators went nuts pushing around any “Pope” gangs, didn’t matter if they were Insane Pope or Almighty Pope, they were all targeted. The story traveled all the way up to the mayor’s office to catch not only the killers but to go after the top tier within the Almighty Popes causing two men to loose over 20 years of their lives for being wrongfully convicted until they were released in the 2020s. After this shooting CPD was harsh on the gangs of Clearing and since then gang issues have not been as intense as the rowdy years of 1990-1996.
The Satan Disciples and Two Six are the dominating forces in this community and always have been.
Here is the list of gangs that have walked these streets over time:
Almighty Popes Established 1994-1996
63rd & Oak Park Ave (Popes Alley)
62nd & Normandy Established 1994-1996
Twelfth Street Players Established 1990-2010s
64th & Nottingham (Players Alley) 1990-2010s
62nd & Melvina (Hale Park) 90s
63rd & Normandy
63rd from Central Ave to Major 90s, 2000s
62nd & Nagle
Two Six Established 1990-present years
63rd to 65th, Menard to Central (Central Two Six) 1990-present years
63rd to 67th, Lavergne to Knox (Cicero Two Six)
62nd & Major
Satan Disciples Established 1990
59th to 60th, Monitor to Central Ave (Minute Man Park) Established 1990
Insane Popes (south side group) Established 1990-2000s
62nd & Sayre (Grim Town)
63rd & Oak Park (Popes Alley) 90s-2000s
62nd & Normandy 1990-1994 turned Almighty Pope until 1996
Conservative Vice Lords 90s
61st & Neenah 90s