|Origins||Settled c. 1845 and annexed c. 1889|
Orange line EL tracks on the north, 59th Street on the south, railroad tracks on the east, railroad tracks on the west
|Gangs founded||Insane Guess Boys,|
|Gangs headquartered||Latin Kings, Satan Disciples, Maniac Latin Disciples, Party People,|
This area was first settled in the 1840s by German immigrants that built their farm houses in the area. In the year 1850 this area became a part of Lake Township and when the Union Stock Yards opened in 1865 this area became a part of the town of “Lake.” In the year 1873 Chicago commissioner and president of the Chicago White Stockings professional baseball team (now known today as the Chicago Cubs) George W. Gage laid out a plan to build a park at the intersection of Western Avenue and Garfield Boulevard, after his death in 1875 the park was named after him as “Gage Park.”
The area remained very barren farmland even by the time annexation into Chicago came in 1889. In the 1900s decade the electric trolley line extended services to Western Avenue and Kedzie Street which brought Bohemian and Polish immigrants to settle in the community that mainly worked at the Union Stock Yards.
Nearby “Marquette Manor” subdivision was laid out in 1911 in the neighborhood next to Gage Park which brought more settlers to this area. Western Avenue and Garfield Boulevard (then known as 55th Street) were paved and by 1919 the area was ready for a boom in population as the area was named “Gage Park” after George W. Gage’s family that resided in the neighborhood.
In the 1920s Slavic and Lithuanians migrated to Gage Park especially after Central Steel and Wire moved its headquarters to Western Avenue in 1924. Royal Crown Bottling Company and World’s Finest Chocolate provided more employment opportunities in the 1930s and 1940s in Gage Park and the community prospered.
The first gang elements came to Gage Park in the 1950s as white greaser gangs formed to battle other greaser clubs from Back of The Yards and Marquette Park. Greaser gangs like the 59th Street Supreme Rulers, Artesian Cobras and the Mad Lads had formed in this community in the 1950s.
The 1960s and 1970s saw the worst racial tensions in Gage Park between whites and blacks as there was a city plan to move African Americans in between Marquette Park and Gage Park. The Gage Park community was outraged, and the greaser gangs were ready to take violent action. The “Southside Head Inc” was especially one greaser group that operated from Gage Park all the way south to the Ashburn neighborhood; they fought to keep blacks out of the neighborhood and even opposed Hispanic migration. The South Side Heads wanted to persevere their neighborhoods for fears that the migration of lower income classes would bring the value of the neighborhood down. The Heads and most of the neighborhood also feared a cultural change that would change the neighborhood. The Ku Klux Klan and Nazi Party groups also came to Gage Park to protest and prevent blacks from moving in using methods of violence and burning crosses on lawns.
In 1966 Martin Luther King led a march of protest that came through Gage Park and Marquette Park against discrimination of housing, the Black P Stones escorted Dr. King and this is when white greasers fought the Black P Stones in the streets of Gage Park. African Americans were kept out of Gage Park for the most part in the 1960s and 1970s even though Gage Park High School now had to let in black students in 1972 which caused several brawls and protests.
The goal of groups like Southwest Community Congress and Southwest Parish and Neighborhood Federation wanted to ease racial tensions so black families could move in but not under the terms of block busting; however, African Americans did not make Gage Park their home.
In the year 1977, the first Mexican families began to move into Gage Park as some white families began to leave after Crane Manufacturing was experiencing early signs of decline, especially by 1979. Some Mexican families were moving in from Little Village and among these families came the Two Six organization that opened territory on 59th Street and Rockwell and Ambrose that opened at 59th and Homan as well becoming the first Mexican street gangs in Gage Park. Ambrose also was settling in neighboring Marquette Park at 63rd and Francisco as they colonized all the way up to 58th Street in Gage Park. From 58th to 59th was their Gage Park territory. Ambrose had 58th the 67th and Fairfield to Washtenaw. After both gangs arrived, they began warring with each other even though they were both part of the Folk alliance. The Two Sixs grew to take 56th to 59th Campbell to Talman. Two Six and Ambrose were the only Hispanic gangs in Gage Park that not only fought each other, they also battled the Heads that didn’t want them there. The Heads after bullied freshly arriving Hispanic youths causing many Hispanic youths to attach to one of these gangs.
In the early 1980s white residents of Gage Park began heading to the suburbs in higher numbers after Crane Manufacturing closed in 1980 in nearby Brighton Park, in their place came more Mexican families. Gage Park soon ended up having some issues with poverty as lower income classes were moving in while much or the working-class residents were leaving.
By the mid-1980s Gage Park was on the way to becoming a majority Hispanic area. The South Side Heads were pretty much closed down, but several members joined the newly arrived Latin Kings that started the notorious Crown Town chapter between 51st to 58th and from California to Pulaski. The Latin Kings now clashed with Two Six and Ambrose. At this time Two Six and Ambrose were quite powerful in this neighborhood. Another group that would arrive during this time period was La Raza that opened in the Marquette Park neighborhood at 61st and Fairfield, however, their territory expanded up to 57th Street in Gage Park. La Raza is a Folk alliance gang and they got along with Two Six in the area and fought Latin Kings heavily.
I believe the mid-1980s may have been the time when Insane Popes moved in and attempted to carry on neighborhood preservation cause that the South Side Heads once did. As Hispanic migration was growing much larger in the mid-1980s many remaining impoverished white youths began falling victim to bullying gangs and joining the Popes was a way to combat this treatment.
The Black Gangster Disciples had 59th to 63rd east of Western Avenue in the West Englewood community but not in Gage Park yet.
In the year 1988 the Insane Guess Boys formed at 57th and Artesian as they would expand from 55th to 58th and Artesian. The Guess Boys were to start off as like a warring party crew but would eventually join the Folk alliance and get involved in heavy gangbanging that got murderous at times.
The Party People started a chapter at 56th and Maplewood in 1989 and became a major fixture in this neighborhood for decades to come. The Party People conflicted heavily with Latin Kings and Ambrose in the neighborhood. Party People was at peace with Two Six and La Raza at first.
In 1991 the Black P Stones would take over territory by 59th and Campbell.
There was also some smaller gangs that arrived and didn’t last like Party Players and City Knights, both from Back of the Yards area. I do not know when they arrived though.
In the year 1993 the Satan Disciples began a chapter on 59th Street which quickly became very popular with Gage Park youths. There was also a recruitment drive of the Gangster Disciples that took in many Mexican youths that year. As Gangster Disciples and Satan Disciples became very large Two Six withdrew from the area closing all their Gage Park turf. This was done after making a deal with Party People and Gangster Disciples. Ambrose left the area after dealing with too costly of wars simultaneously with Party People, Latin Kings and others.
In the year 1995, the Maniac Latin Disciples colonized Gage Park brought in by Gus. This section would eventually get big between 55th and 58th Streets. Two Sixs would also make a comeback for a brief amount of time but would flip to Gangster Disciples.
In 1997, the Conservative Vice Lords took 57th and Artesian area and pushed out Black P Stones.
The neighborhood erupted into gang violence especially in the 1990s which proved to be the worst decade. Mexican migration heavily increased in the 1990s as more white families fled to escape the gang violence and drugs in the neighborhood, Gage Park then became one of the tougher neighborhoods in Chicago. In the 21st century housing values have increased which has brought some more middle-class families to the area which has helped curb some of the violence; however, Gage Park still remains one of the tougher neighborhoods in Chicago but is not a slum.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s Gage Park main gangs that dominated with Two Six and Ambrose. By the mid-1980s the Latin Kings would become the third dominating gang
By the early 1990s Latin Kings were very dominant as Two Six and Ambrose began to fade from the area; however, Party People were getting much stronger by 1993.
By the mid-1990s the new dominating gangs were Latin Kings, Satan Disciples, Maniac Latin disciples and Party People.
In 1993, Two Six and Ambrose left the area. Guess Boys were temporarily broken up after a costly war with Party People. In 1995, La Raza left the area after a costly war with Party People.
In the year 1997, Conservative Vice Lords arrived and had a quick war with Black P Stones, then the Stones left the area.
The Guess Boys would return in 1999 but were gone by the year 2000 after another costly war with the Party People.
Maniac Latin Disciples left the area in more recent decades.
In later decades gang wars and violence continued often getting Gage Park considered one of Chicago’s more dangerous communities.
The dominant groups are Satan Disciples, Latin Kings and Party People.
Gage Park is founding land of the Insane Guess Boys.
Ambrose Established 1977-1993
54th Pl & Claremont (The Wall)
59th & Homan (Homan Homicide) Established 1977-1993
Maplewood from 51st to 52nd
Black P Stones Established 1991-1997
59th & Campbell Established 1991-1997
53rd & Rockwell
57th & Rockwell
57th & Mozart
Party People Established 1989
55th to 59th, Talman to Campbell (G-Town)
Fairfield from 57th to 59th Established 1995
Two Six Established 1977-1993
56th to 59th, Campbell to Talman Established 1977-1993
58th & Albany (Smoke Town)
Satan Disciples Established 1993
58th to 59th, Central Park Ave to Sacramento Established 1993
59th & Homan
59th & Mozart
Fairfield from 57th to 59th
58th & Rockwell
59th & Campbell
Maniac Latin Disciples Established 1995
55th to 56th, Talman to Washtenaw Established 1995
55th to 59th, Rockwell to California (Outlaw City) Established 1995
57th & Trumbull
Insane Popes (south side group)
53rd & Kedzie
Conservative Vice Lords Established 1997
57th & Artesian (Ace Block/Boogie World) Established 1997
Insane Guess Boys Established 1988-2000
55th to 58th, Talman to Western Established 1988-1993
59th & Talman Established 1999-2000
Imperial Gangsters 80s-1993
59th & Spaulding 80s-1993