Bucktown (Logan Square)
Bucktown (Logan Square)

Bucktown (Logan Square)

Origins Annexed c. 1863
Area North Side

Diversey Avenue on the north, Bloomingdale Avenue on the south, Chicago River on the east, Western Avenue on the west

Gangs founded Insane Unknowns, Latin Panthers Organization, Spanish Lords,
Gangs headquartered Spanish Lords,

Logan Square was first settled by Martin Kimball (yes, Kimball Avenue is named after him) in the year 1836. In 1850 more settlers began arriving in the area as Martin Kimball had begun building farms on the land. The community became known as the town of “Jefferson” as of 1850 except for the area known today as Bucktown.
In the year 1863 the City of Chicago annexed the Bucktown area (then known as Holstein) while Jefferson remained a community of its own. Another part of the future Logan Square area was another town named “Maplewood.”
After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the towns of Jefferson and Maplewood began to grow at a faster rate with several more houses being built. In the year 1889 both Jefferson and Maplewood were annexed into the city of Chicago and the area was renamed “Logan Square” which was named after General John A. Logan. The neighborhood was then immediately paved and public transportation was put in place. Housing construction grew more after the annexation.
After World War I Russian Jews and Polish immigrants arrived in large numbers making the 1920s one of the best times for Logan Square as the community grew tremendously.
The 1930s would prove to be a very hard time on the community as the woes of the Great Depression era took its toll on the community and many residents moved out leaving the houses and buildings to fall into a state of deterioration.
In the late 1950s another wave of residents left the community which sunk Logan Square further into a depression leaving many properties vacant. The area was sinking into becoming a slum. A wave of yuppies showed up in the early 1960s that fixed up some properties and helped the neighborhood’s value minimally. Hard times were still present and low rent in the deteriorated structures became a feasible living scenario for lower income residents. Puerto Rican people began moving to Logan Square/Bucktown in 1960, especially Bucktown.
In the 1950s-decade wild groups of teens roamed these streets attaching themselves to various greaser gangs, these groups often bullied newly arrived Puerto Rican youths in the earlier 1960s and escalating in Bucktown by 1964 which is when Puerto Rican migration increased.

By 1964, a decent number of Puerto Ricans arrived and much of the white population was enraged especially when Puerto Ricans were blamed for the increased crime rate and prostitution.  This is when greaser gangs began to target groups of Puerto Rican youths leading to the formation of Puerto Rican gangs such as the Unknown Souls that would eventually evolve into the notorious Insane Unknowns street gang.  The Spanish Lords also started here at this time as both groups were geared toward protecting the Hispanic populace.  Tougher greaser groups roved into the area looking for trouble with Hispanic youths like Gaylords, Chi-West, C-Notes and PVPs.  Spanish Lords and Insane Unknowns fought them hard as they had to attend the same schools with these greasers too.

For the most part, major white gangs had no interest in actually settling Bucktown and/or claiming territory in the 1960s and before.  It was not until 1969 that Gaylords established themselves here at Lyndale and Leavitt.  These Gaylords arrived because of conflicting issues frustrated white youths had with Spanish Lords and Insane Unknowns.

In the year 1969, Hispanic migration blossomed in the whole Logan Square area which brought about migrating Hispanic gangs but most of all Hispanic gangs formed on the streets of Logan Square 1969/1970.

By the year 1970, the Puerto Rican population was roughly 12% making up about 15,000 Puerto Ricans.  This is the time when racial tensions exploded as more gangs developed in this community in the 1970s.

In the 1970s Taylor Jousters, Playboys and Ventures made Bucktown their home as they joined the Gaylords in battling the Hispanic gangs.  The Taylor Jouster and Playboys were especially the larger groups of white gangs.  Latin Panthers were started on these streets in the 70s as Warlords and Latin Lovers also settled in this community in the 1970s.  Spanish Lords and Insane Unknowns were the biggest of the Hispanic groups during these years.  Violent gang wars, drugs, poverty, and some urban decay settled in this community in the 70s making Bucktown a more dangerous neighborhood.

White flight from the area became very strong in the 1980s which caused Taylor Jousters, Playboys and Ventures to close their territories by the mid-1980s. Insane Unknowns and Spanish Lords were now the dominating groups.  C-Notes moved into this neighborhood in the 1980s that fought with Gaylords and all the Hispanic gangs.  Latin Jivers arrived in the 1980s and became another dominating group.  This group had lots of animosity against Spanish Lords and Insane Unknowns, especially since the Latin Jivers were the first gang to claim Folks on these streets.  Every other group that was in this neighborhood was either part of the People alliance or no alliance.

Yuppies began moving in and buying up this cheap property in the 1980s; however, as they looked out their windows they could see drug dealers on the corner, gangs roaming the streets and graffiti on the walls.

In the 1990s, Bucktown was still a very crazy place to live; however, yuppies were starting to buy up this land in higher volume and by the later 90s the area was changing as gentrification began a firm grasp on this community.  During these years gang wars between Latin Jivers, Spanish Lords and Insane Unknowns was intense.  Gaylords left this area in the 1990s as Latin Kings arrived established a nice chuck of territory becoming a dominating group.  Now the neighborhood in the 1990s was dominated by Spanish Lords, Insane Unknowns, Latin Kings and Latin Jivers.

In the 2000s Bucktown had almost completely transitioned as now the yuppies had conquered this area and the Insane Unknowns, Latin Kings, and Latin Jivers left the area.  Only groups of Spanish Lords, Latin Lovers remain in the area presently.  Bucktown is now one of the safer communities in Chicago.

In recent decades the Imperial Gangsters have moved into the area conflicting with Spanish Lords and Latin Lovers.

The dominating groups over time were Taylor Jousters, PVPs, Spanish Lords and Insane Unknowns in the 1970s.

In the 1980s the dominating groups were Spanish Lords, Insane Unknowns and Latin Jivers.

In the 1990s Spanish Lords, Insane Unknowns, Latin Jivers and Latin Kings dominated this community.

In later decades the Spanish Lords dominate the best they can given that this is a Yuppie area.

If you are a young urban professional that is rather newer to this area it may be of interest that these significant groups once walked the streets you now live on:


Latin Panthers Organization Established 1970-1978

Mclean & Oakley Established 1970-1978

Gaylords Established 1969-1990s

Bloomingdale & Marshfield (Walsh Park)

Leavitt & Lyndale Established 1969-1990s

Latin Kings 90s, 2000s

Cortland & Damen to Hoyne 90s, 2000s

C-Notes 80s, 90s

Medill & Oakley 80s, 90s

Fullerton & Western 80s, 90s

Latin Jivers 80s, 90s, 2000s

Armitage to Cortland, Leavitt to Damen 80s, 90s, 2000s

Insane Unknowns Established 1964-2000s

Damen & Dickens Established 1976-2000s

Hoyne & McClean Established 1964 as Unknown Souls

Charleston & Damen (Shared with Spanish Lords in the 90s and 2000s) 70s, 90s, 2000s

Playboy Ventures Pulaski Park

I don’t know exactly where but they were pretty decent sized in Bucktown in the 70s

Spanish Lords Established 1964-present years

Armitage from Oakley to Western 70s-present years

Charleston & Western

McClean & Oakley

Shakespeare & Oakley (Holstein Park)

Damen & Dickens (shared with Insane Unknowns) 90s, 2000s

Dickens & Honore 90s

Milwaukee & Western

Moffet/Milwaukee & Oakley Established 1964

Cortland & Wilmot Established 1968 (Ehrler (William) Park)

Charleston & Damen (Shared with Insane Unknowns) 90s, 2000s

Taylor Jousters 70s, 80s

Cortland & Marshfield

Damen & Cortland 70s

North Avenue to Bloomingdale, Milwaukee to Interstate 90 expressway 70s, 80s

Warlords Established 1978-1983

Seeley & Webster Established 1978-1983 (La Familia Warlords)

Charleston & Damen 80s

Latin Lovers 70s-present years

Fullerton & Western 70s, 2000s-present

Imperial Gangsters 2010s-present

Altgeld & Campbell 2010s-present