Origins Settled by Nicholas Kransz in 1848 and annexed c. 1889
Area Far North Side

Devon on the north, Foster on the south, Lake front on the east, Ravenswood Ave on the west

Gangs founded Thorndale Jag Offs,
Gangs headquartered Latin Kings, Gangster Disciples, Spanish Gangster Disciples,

In the year 1848, this land was first settled by Nicholas Kransz.  Kransz farmhouse, known as the Seven Mile House, was located at present day Ridge and Clark.  After this the area was just the site of farms owned by German, Swedish and Irish celery farmers.  (Fact source, http://www.edgewaterhistory.org/ehs/local/development-timeline)

These lands were very rural and without much of an exciting history until John Lewis Cochran became interested in building a subdivision and starting a new town in 1885.  In the year 1886, Cochran’s plans came to fruition as he built the “Edgewater” subdivision located at Bryn Mawr and Foster area.  Cochran also developed commercial business and running water, lights, sewer, sidewalks and public transportation from the new Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad tracks stopping at Bryn Mawr.  Elegant mansions were built nearer to the lake front while smaller homes were west.  (Fact source, http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/413.html)

In the year 1889, the population of Edgewater was 300 and these residents were to vote on annexation to Chicago, the residents empathically did not favor annexation; however, they were overridden, and Edgewater was annexed in 1889.

In the year 1908, the Northwestern Elevated Railroad extended their lines which caused a boom in population increase.  This brought more construction of apartment buildings and elegant hotels for the wealthy.  In the year 1915 this neighborhood along with the neighborhood to the south was named “Uptown.”  This was further made official in the 1930s when University of Chicago sociologists declared this area was also part of Uptown. (Fact source, http://www.edgewaterhistory.org/ehs/local/development-timeline)

In the year 1933, Lake Shore Drive was extended to Foster Ave which caused a further population boom.  Due to the lack of construction during the Great Depression years Edgewater soon became overcrowded following World War II.  This caused many landlords to subdivide their buildings into kitchenette style apartments which brought a lack of maintenance on the buildings and some blight would begin.  There was also the construction of high rises along Sheridan Road.  This brought about some more blight and this area became dirtier and attracted vagrants.

During the 1950s, Japanese, Korean, American Indians, Greeks, Cubans, Mexicans and Puerto Ricans began to settle in this neighborhood bringing in new cultures.  http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/413.html)

The community was about to turn into a blighted area in the Winthrop-Kenmore corridor, which was between Granville to Foster, Kenmore to the lake front.  This was the more east side of the neighborhood that could been seen when driving along Lake Shore Drive and in the 1950s and 60s, this was a rather shabby area.  Much of the reason why residents of Edgewater had less control of the blight was the fact Edgewater was part of Uptown and Uptown had many issues with urban decay by the 1960s as crime and gang activity became a major issue in that neighborhood.

As a response to growing gang activity in nearby Uptown and a growing issue of criminal and seedy activity in Winthrop-Kenmore, a gang of youths began gathering at Thorndale and Kenmore which was in the heart of Winthrop-Kenmore.  This group of youths began calling themselves the Thorndale Jarvis Organization in 1962.  This TJO group patrolled the neighborhood weeding out undesirables that made the neighborhood worse.  When the Latin Kings and Harrison Gents moved into Uptown in 1964 the TJOs were busier than ever fighting with these groups.  The TJOs became the dominating group in Edgewater and were very feared.  TJOs could be dangerous at times but their main purpose was to protect this neighborhood from seedy elements.  In the late 1960s the TJOs were very politically active and even battled Black Panthers.

In the mid-1970s a migration wave swept the Uptown, Rogers Park and Edgewater areas as Edgewater had more European groups like Russians, Albanians, and more Greeks.  Pakistanis would also arrive at this time.  Edgewater also experienced an Asian migration wave as Vietnamese, more Korean, more Japanese and Thai migrants moved to Edgewater.  More Native Americans moved to Edgewater and African Americans.

Hispanic migration also arrived in the mid-1970s and among that wave came the Latin Kings of Berwyn and Winthrop.  The Latin Kings formed right in TJO territory and were put together to assist young Hispanic youths that felt they were victimized by the TJO.  The TJO viewed the Latin Kings as a seedy element that did not fit in with this community, thus, attacks began.  The Latin Kings soon became very popular.

In the year 1980, Edgewater at last gained its independence from Uptown and became Chicago’s 77th neighborhood.  As this happened the 1980s saw a lot of revival as higher income classes that began to settle here and several new businesses opened.  This helped with property values.

Even though Edgewater was coming up in the 1980s there were new gangs that migrated into Edgewater among a new wave of Hispanic migration.  Hispanic youths arriving conflicted with white gangs and Latin Kings nearby which prompted them to attach themselves to a new gang element as Spanish Gangster Disciples arrived on these streets in 1983.  Future Stones also opened a branch in this neighborhood the same year.  By 1983, TJOs were not nearly as large as they once were and were heading into retirement.  This allowed Latin Kings and SGDs to have great influence over the youths of Edgewater.

The 1980s was perhaps the wildest decade on these streets with some heightened gang activity but the neighborhood continued revival.  In the 1990s the neighborhood became more gentrified for higher income classes.

In the 21st century Edgewater is one of the higher income neighborhoods in the community but still has a gang element.

In the 1960s TJOs reigned supreme as the biggest gang on these streets.

In the 1970s TJOs were still one of the largest gangs in this community but now the Latin Kings were a contender as both gang had a violent gang war on these streets.

In the 1980s as TJOs shrunk in size the neighborhood became dominated by Latin Kings and Spanish Gangster Disciples.  The new power struggle was between SGDs and Latin Kings

In the 1990s TJOs had retired from these streets entirely.  Latin Kings and SGDs were still the dominating forces.  African American migration increased in the 1990s which ushered in Black P Stones, Conservative Vice Lords and Gangster Disciples.  The Gangster Disciples became an especially dominating force that battled Latin Kings.

In more recent decades Latin Kings and Gangster Disciples have the strongest influence and are the dominant gangs.

Edgewater is the birthplace of the Thorndale Jag Offs.

For many of you young urban professional types that have settled here in recent decades you might be interested to know that these prominent gangs have walked these streets over time:


Thorndale Jag off Established 1962-1990s

Foster to Montrose, Kenmore to Sheridan Established 1962-1990s

Conservative Vice Lords

Clark & Thorndale 90s, 2000s

Clark & Ridge

Spanish Gangster Disciples Established 1983

Clark & Olive

Early & Wayne

Lakewood & Granville

Rosemont & Lakewood 80s, 90s

Rosemont & Broadway Established 1983 (Original North Side)

Clark & Bryn Mawr 90s

Broadway & Victoria 80s, 90s, 2000s

Stoned Freaks

Clark & Hollywood 80s, 90s

Future Stones Established 1983 (80s)

Olive & Clark Established 1983 (80s)

Clark & Bryn Mawr 80s

Gangster Disciples 90s-present years

Thorndale & Winthrop (North Pole) 90s-present years

Granville to Thorndale, Broadway to Kenmore (Guttaville Gangsters, Guttaville rap group, Day Day World rap group) 90s-present day

Latin Kings 70s-present years

Clark & Balmoral

Clark & Catalpa (Crack and Crime) 90s-present years

Clark & Bryn Mawr 2000s-present years

Ridge to Thorndale, Ravenswood to Hermitage

Farragut & Glenwood 90s-2000s

Berwyn & Winthrop 70s-present years

Black P Stones

Hollywood & Kenmore 90s, 2000s, 2010s

Bryn Mawr & Winthrop

Brazers 2010s-present years

Broadway & Victoria 2010s-present years