Origins Settled by Wilcox in 1840 and annexed c. 1889
Area Southwest Side

Garfield Boulevard on the north, 75th Street to 76th Street on the south, railroad tracks to La Salle Street to Wentworth Avenue to Yale Street to Harvard Avenue to Stewart Avenue to Eggleston Avenue to the tracks on the east (in a staircase shape bordering the jagged boundaries of Greater Grand Crossing), Racine Avenue of the west

Gangs founded Black Disciples, Gangster Disciples, Boss Pimps,
Gangs headquartered Black Disciples, Gangster Disciples, Black P Stones,

In the year 1840 this swampy and oak forest lined land and was officially discovered and documented by the Land Office of the City of Chicago. A settler named “Wilcox” charted the area over by where Vincennes Avenue presently is situated. After the charting of the area settlement by Irish and German canal workers happened but they did not stay in the area.

In 1850 this area became a part of Lake Township and by 1852 railroad tracks were laid in the area to form a junction of tracks that gave the area the name “Junction Grove.”  Up until 1865 this area was the sight of scattered truck farms where Irish and German laborers worked on them, it remained a rural area. In 1865 the area was annexed into the town of “Lake” as German and Irish immigrant settlers began employment at the Union Stock Yards in the town of Lake which is presently known as the Back of The Yards community.

In the year 1868 Henry B. Lewis came to the area and wanted it to have a name of its own apart from Lake, that is when he came up with the name “Englewood” that he got from Englewood New Jersey, also in 1868 L. W. Beck donated a tract of 10 acres to make way for Cook County Normal School which opened in 1869 as a college mainly for teachers.  This college prompted a middle-class subdivision to be platted near the school.  Scottish immigrants then arrived in the neighborhood after the college opened and after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 several more Chicagoans came to this neighborhood after their homes were destroyed.

In the 1880s the population of Englewood grew, and this brought about more public transportation and also annexation in the year 1889.

In the year 1885, the first blacks moved into the Englewood community around the intersection of 67th and Racine in Ogden Park.  Blacks had some rights to this area because it was the site of an old underground railroad site during the slavery days.  Roughly 600 blacks moved into the Ogden Park area.

The darker history of Englewood would start in 1886 when Henry W. Howard moved to this neighborhood in August of 1886.  H.H. Holmes as he was more referred to in history took up employment at “Elizabeth S. Holton’s Drugstore” at the intersection of 63rd Street and Wallace, shortly after Elizabeth’s husband died and H.H. Holmes bought the store from her and she disappeared after that.  From there Holmes purchased a large three-story hotel across the street that locals nicknamed “The Castle” because it was so big.  He then moved the drug store into the first floor of the building and then hired workers to redo the upper two floors to make it into a confusing labyrinth of rooms and hallways that would often lead nowhere or connected in unconventional ways.


Holmes had a sinister grand vision for something evil in the near future and he needed to create a maze of confusion that he would be the only one to understand.  If workers complained or tried to construct it to make sense he fired them instantly as he took no objection or curbing of his plan, finally he discovered a carpenter Benjamin Pitezel who was a carpenter many did not want to hire because of his criminal record; however, a skilled carpenter with a past was perfect for Holmes as he could lay out why he needed this hotel designed in such a devious way.  He created soundproof rooms and torture chambers for his would-be victims.

By the time the Columbian Exposition Fair came to Chicago in 1893, Holmes was ready to carry out his diabolical plans of murder he had been plotting since 1889.  He advertised his hotel as a place to lodge fair goers, but he especially wanted females to frequent his establishment.  He then led them into this maze of death into rooms with gas chambers, hanging nooses, and suffocation chambers.  He would kill his victims through the various methods of torture or instant death then dump their bodies down a chute that led into the basement, there he would carve the bodies up ripping off limbs, incinerating bodies in ovens or acid, removing skeletons to sell to universities for research or even chain some live victims up on stretching racks to torture them as their limbs were slowly pulled off while they were alive.

Shortly after the fair ended in 1894 Holmes was arrested and then hanged in 1896, the murder castle was torn down in 1938.  This was the first part of Englewood’s dark history and would not be the first time and not the last time this neighborhood would deal with murder.

In the 1900s-decade Polish and other Eastern European immigrants came to this community and by the 1910s and 1920s several apartment buildings were constructed in the neighborhood.  More Irish migrated here to escape the harshness of the Back of The Yards and Bridgeport as they achieved upward mobility.

Civil unrest came to Englewood in July of 1919 when the race riots were occuring.  Angry white rioter came to the Ogden Park area armed with weapons looking to attack the black community.  Black residents repelled the assault by shooting down two rioters scaring the rest away.

The 1930s did see a boom in the neighborhood as the 63rd Street and Halsted shopping center was constructed and became a very busy retail district that was the second busiest shopping area in the entire city.  The Sears store built in the neighborhood generated lots of employment and revenue for the community by 1934.

The 1930s was also hard on this community during these Great Depression years as businesses and banks closed down as other businesses like Sears opened.  The college now known as Chicago Normal College closed down in 1932 which ceased revenue and many jobs for the residents of Englewood. This neighborhood was now a cheaper place to rent or own property because of the Great Depression and the fact that World War II efforts caused a lack of materials needed to renovate deteriorating buildings, this attracted lower income African Americans to the neighborhood because of the affordability in the 1940s.

The arrival of African Americans sparked fears and hate from this almost all-white community mainly because of the financial panic which brought about redlining (when banking and lending institutions cut off lending) and a lack of investing in the neighborhood especially since black residents would pay into less taxes due to being forced to take lower incomes. Institutions felt that the neighborhood needed renovations but lacked the income to do so plus they were starting to see the arrival of impoverished African Americans from the black belt who were not ideal clients to lend to because their employment was not stable. The problem African Americans faced was their employment was not stable because they often unfairly discriminated against in the work force, it was a never-ending cycle.

In the year 1949, African Americans attended a union gathering at a Jewish families’ home at 5643 S. Peoria St (57th and Peoria) which fueled a rumor that the house was about to be sold to blacks in this middle class section which many viewed as the start of a takeover by blacks and communists, and a mob of 10,000 whites attacked several Jews and blacks and anyone they thought was a communist, this was a massive racial onslaught.  This riot received very minimal media attention as the city didn’t want violent racial issues to be published at this time I history.

As the 1950s decade arrived Englewood housed many impoverished white residents.  White residents lived in kitchette style apartments in deteriorated buildings.  When blacks began to move to this community in some higher volume in the earlier 1950s they found cheap housing that was affordable to many impoverished black families.

During the 1950s crooked real estate agents heavily targeted Englewood for block busting as they found residents to be easily convinced this area was going to fall victim to deterioration and what was perceived as an invasion by African Americans.

At some point Italians settled this community and by the 1950s this neighborhood was majority Italian.  Many Italian families partook in white flight in the 1950s but many others could not afford to leave the neighborhood.  Many of the youths from these poorer families took on a guardian stance on these streets as they their neighborhood was threatened by the growing black population and the threat of other white gangs in the area.  Greaser street gangs formed in Englewood in the 1950s especially the Sons of Italy.

Black migration remained rather slow for nearly two decades until 1958.  In the year 1958, Dan Ryan Expressway construction reshaped the south side and even pushed families out of their homes that resides nearby for further construction.  Englewood experienced a major surge of black migration in 1958 as this neighborhood experienced the highest migration shift in perhaps the entire city.  This caused a very sharp cultural clash as Italian greaser gangs felt very threatened by the arrival of many blacks.  Soon black youths found themselves harassed and beaten constantly by white gangs as they were harassed and attacked in school and on the streets.  This treatment prompted the formation of the Egyptian Cobras and Devil’s Disciples that would fight these greasers.  By the end of the year an overwhelming amount of the white population had left, and the neighborhood was now majority black.  Now that the neighborhood was majority black the white gangs withdrew from the area.  Egyptian Cobras and Devil’s Disciples now targeted each other and became bitter rivals.

In the early 1960s both gangs now dominated this neighborhood as the very last of the white population left these streets.  In the 1960s many buildings fell into heavy urban blight as the neighborhood evolved into one of the more dangerous communities in the 1960s with very high crime.  These streets also became heavily active with gang activity and the Englewood bad reputation grew.  Block busting and harsh rumors led to severe disinvestment in this community that led to disrepair and blight.

In the year 1963, the Devil’s Disciples moved their headquarters into this neighborhood at 63rd and Normal.

In the year 1964, the Supreme Gangsters were formed on these streets at 68th and Green.  One year later this group became very popular as they were allies with Devil’s Disciples.

In the year 1966, Black P Stones preached to gangs of black youths to join their ranks into one large alliance known as the Black P Stone nation.  This is when the Stones came to Englewood and turned-out groups of black youths into their organization; however, the Black P Stone group would not become as large as the Disciples.  The Stones became very large in the northern part of the neighborhood near the Garfield Boulevard border that divided Back of the Yards from Englewood.  Along this border were hostile white and Puerto Rican groups that attacked black youths all the time for crossing the border.  This is when Englewood and Back of the Yards black youths joined the Black P Stone banner.  The Disciples settled along the Garfield Boulevard area did not open territory in the Back of the Yards which made their racial conflicts a little lessor.

I believe it was about 1966 when the Egyptian Cobras mainly left the neighborhood accept by the Garfield Boulevard border.  I am not sure why their numbers declined but it may have been because several of them flipped to Black P Stones in 1966.

In the year 1968 a Disciple group formed on these streets that were called the Bostonian Pimps.  This group would eventually become the notorious Boss Pimps, they were born in this neighborhood.

In the year 1968 the Devil’s Disciples and Supreme Gangsters went to war adding more violent conflict to this neighborhood; however, in 1969 the two became allies again under the Black Gangster Disciples banner.  After the Black Gangster Disciples was formed the two groups heavily dominated the neighborhood as they both were engaging in violent gang wars with Black P Stones.

By the 1970s Much of the shopping strip on 63rd Street became abandoned, and Sears closed its doors because of the decline in business since the late 1950s when the Dan Ryan Expressway was built.  In 1972 Normal College closed and moved to 95th Street becoming Chicago State University, the reason for the move was for the accommodation of the majority white students that did not want to attend college in an all-black and struggling community.  The Roseland neighborhood at the time was ideal because it was a neighborhood of a mix of blacks and whites which could also cater to the African American population in the school.

In the 1970s drug trafficking became more common place which is what led to the arrest of Supreme Gangster leader Larry Hoover in 1973 for murder over drugs.

In the 1980s drug profits became a heavy focus for Englewood gangs as killing over drugs plagued these streets.  Black Disciples and Black Gangster Disciples mostly got along in the earlier 1980s and were mostly able to make money on these streets without conflicting with each other.

In the year 1987, Englewood Black Disciples and Black Gangster Disciples began to experience difficulty co-existing as incidents of violence between these two Folk allies became more frequent and intense.  In the year 1989, a temporary yet unforgettable war happened between these two which caused many young BGDs to refer to themselves only as “Gangster Disciples” dropping the letter “B” from their name.

The 1990s was a very violent decade as drug wars intensified along with temporary BGD and BD wars.  In the year 1994 the two gangs would war permanently making Englewood several times more violent.  This neighborhood was now in a state of three-way-conflict between Gangster Disciples, Black Disciples and Black P Stones.

Englewood is indeed the most blighted neighborhood in the city of Chicago.  The landscape of Englewood is almost majority vacant land as old ran down buildings were long ago torn down and nothing was built in place.  Many abandoned buildings and homes have been vacant for several decades including very large mansions that have been left vacant for nearly half a century.  The population of Englewood has plummeted over the decades since the 1960s because of high vacancy and several homes being torn down, making the area almost appear as a rural looking community.  On every block in Englewood there are several abandoned homes and vacant lots, and, on some blocks, there is sometimes up to ten abandoned homes in a row.  Englewood is the poorest neighborhood in Chicago and the most dangerous, it is also the neighborhood to find the most vacant buildings in all of Chicago. The deteriorated buildings are many times so large and vintage, wrapped with vines of leaves and moss that it is almost a marvelous site to those like me who have a keen eye for blighted buildings.  Old 19th century and early 20th century homes and mansions sit vacant without even boarded up windows or doors as forgotten pieces of history.

South of 71st Street is an area that has much less vacancies and abandoned homes, if homes are abandoned, they have not been vacant for long.  This area is a little more well-kept and residents tend to have a tighter community watch which causes crime to be less between 71st and 75th Street.

Englewood, for decades since the 1960s, has very often scored as one of the top 5 dangerous neighborhoods of Chicago, often taking the number one spot.  White flight, block busting and disinvestment caused great damage to this community as it was already damaged from the Great Depression.  In over 90 year of history Englewood has never had a chance to recover from economic depression.

Gangster Disciples and Black Disciples have a very strong presence here and perhaps will forever.  Both groups regard this neighborhood highly as it is their motherlands.  The Black P Stones have a heavy following around Moe Town and have a very strong influence in the very northern part and the very southern part of this community.  These three gangs heavily dominate this neighborhood since the 1960s.

The known gangs that have walked these streets over time are:

Sons of Italy

Ogden Park area on 67th

Boss Pimps Established 1968

Somewhere on 65th Street, need more specifics

Black P Stones Established 1966

72nd to 74th, Racine to May (May Block)

55th to 57th, Ashland to Union (Moe Town) Established 1966

74th & Halsted

Latin Kings Established 1964-1972

57th & Halsted

Black Disciples Established 1958 as Devil’s Disciples

59th & Normal

61st to 62nd, Wallace to Stewart (Tay Town 300, formerly known as E-Town)

64th to 66th, Peoria to Halsted (AMG MacBlock HBE)

65th to 66th, Lowe to Union (Lowelife)

63rd to 65th, Parnell to Normal (Lamron 300)

68th to 70th, Halsted to Union (ShawnMoney HBE)

71st to 73rd, Green to Halsted (Dogpound HBE)

71st to 72nd, Parnell to Eggleston (Dipset Tygang)

67th & Lowe

57th to 59th, Morgan to Lowe (Shorteyville, D-City)

57th from Morgan to Racine (BD Ave)

59th & Racine (9-Ball)

65th & Morgan

Gangster Disciples Established 1958 as Devil’s Disciples, 1964 as Supreme Gangsters

63rd to 71st, Halsted to Dan Ryan Expressway (G-Town) Established 1958 as Devil’s Disciples

56th & Aberdeen

56th & Princeton

56th & Lowe

57th & Union

59th to 61st, Racine to Union

Halsted from 59th to 61st

61st & Racine

61st & Sangamon

63rd & Sangamon (Gambinos)

63rd & Normal Established 1958 as Devil’s Disciples

67th & May (May Mob)

68th & Green (shared with Black Disciples) Established 1964 as Supreme Gangsters

Carpenter from 70th to 71st (Walk Town)

73rd & Racine (Seven Trey)

55th to 57th, Aberdeen to Carpenter (CPT Landlord No Love City)

56th to 58th, Halsted to Union (MOE No Love City)

55th to 57th, Union to Lowe (WMG No Love City)

57th to 59th, Stewart to Wells (Travis World)

58th to 60th, Racine to Aberdeen (MOM)

58th to 59th, Sangamon to Green (Wallygang No Love City)

59th to 61st, Morgan to Sangamon (Freakyworld No Love City)

60th to 61st, Halsted to Union

63rd to 65th, Morgan to Sangamon (Creep City Trigworld)

67th to 68th, Carpenter to Sangamon (Tunchieville)

70th to 71st, Aberdeen to Sangamon (Crazyville)

69th to 70th, Sangamon to Green (CMB)

69th to 71st, Wallace to Normal (Block Burna Jojo World)

69th to 70th, Normal to Harvard (Brick Squad Jojo World) border with Greater Grand Crossing

72nd to 73rd, Carpenter to Morgan (YMM)

Union from 75th to 76th (Ublock)

69th & Eggleston

69th & Perry

66th & Peoria

70th & Peoria

Mickey Cobras Established 1958 as Egyptian Cobras

55th & Normal (Dodge City Dirty World Cobras)

55th & Shields

Conservative Vice Lords

74th to 75th, Aberdeen to Racine





All images below are of buildings that were abandoned at the time of the picture.  All images are courtesy of Google Maps