Norwood Park
Norwood Park

Norwood Park

Origins Settled by Mark Noble c. 1833 and annexed c. 1893
Area Far North Side

The borders are a little too hard to explain, it is best to look at Google maps by asking it to show the neighborhood borders. I will do the best generalization

The northern border is jagged in shape that mainly is Albion Ave from Harlem to Milwaukee Ave then the other part of the north is along Devon from Harlem to Canfield

The southern border is mainly at Foster Ave from route 171 to Harlem then from Harlem and Gunnison to Nagle and Gunnison

The eastern border is mainly Nagle to Bryn Mawr then goes from Bryn Mawr to Austin Ave to Austin and Indian Road then up Indian Road to Devon.

The western border is very complex that mainly consists of Canfield Ave as the border and is intertwined with O’hare airport, is is best to look at Google maps, apologies.

Gangs headquartered Gaylords,

The Norwood Park neighborhood was first settled in the year 1833 by Mark Noble as he purchased a large number of acres in the Jefferson Township area that included the future Norwood Park area.  It was in that same year that Noble built the Noble-Seymour-Crippen house that still stands today as a landmark.  This was the first house in Norwood Park.  This area was full of wooded areas and hills.  After Noble settled here English farmers settled this area in the 1830s.  Then in the following next decades Germans, Polish and Scandinavians settled here. (Fact source,

In the year 1853, the Illinois & Wisconsin Railroad laid tracks through the area that made this area a little more luring but not initially.  Even in 1868 when the Norwood Land and Building Association began the curvilinear subdivision and the Norwood Park Hotel with a manmade lake it still failed to draw much traffic to the area.  Regardless of the lack of attraction to the area Norwood Park was incorporated as a village in 1874.  The village was then annexed into Chicago in 1893.  Annexation allowed more trains to run through the neighborhood which brought more population near the tracks. (Fact source,

Norwood Park boomed in the 1920s after major roadway improvement and in the 1930s the neighborhood continued to grow despite the Great Depression.

Over the years this would be regarded as one of the safest neighborhoods in Chicago and mostly free of gang activity.  In my research I could not find any gang activity during the greaser years of the 1950s and 1960s.  Norwood Park also stayed far tucked away on the far north side free of the gang wars in the more inner city.  Hispanic and black migration never bloomed in this community which made the area free of cultural and racial conflict.  Residents over the decades have worked hard to keep their homes at a decent value to prevent this area from decline.

Gang settlement in Norwood Park is a little sketchy for me at this time but I do know that kids in high school seemed to become a little concerned about all the settled in the far north side of the city around 1977 and this prompted some youths that happened to be big into smoking marijuana and partying to form their own clique in 1977.  In neighboring Jefferson Park and Portage Park white street gangs were settling heavily in these coveted lands in the early to mid-70s and there began much conflict along the borders with Jefferson Park and Portage Park that effected Norwood Park youths.  This is when the Insane Freaks was created right at the border of the neighborhood at Milwaukee and Austin.  This border with Jefferson Park soon became a hot zone of gang activity and gang fights and since Milwaukee and Austin is slightly more in the Norwood Park borders, I felt I had to include the story of the Insane Freaks on this page.  The Insane Freaks would also spread deeper into Norwood Park.  This attracted rival gangs like the C-Notes to invade and attack the Freaks, thus, starting a gang war.  The C-Notes didn’t have turf in the Norwood Park borders but because they had such a deep conflict with Freaks, they often would show up for a fight in this quiet Chicago neighborhood.  This would go on well into the 1990s until both groups began to fade from the far north side of Chicago.  I am not sure when the Simon City Royals came to this neighborhood at Bryn Mawr and Harlem, but it may not have been until Freaks were leaving the area.

In the year 1994 the Insane Freaks had now incorporated into the Almighty Stoned Freak nation that was formerly based in Hermosa now the new Freaks headquarters was moved to Milwaukee and Austin, this would run its course into the 2000s decade then the Freaks left for the suburbs.  This community was once again mostly gang free.  Milwaukee and Austin fell under the control of retired older Gaylords from the battle-hardened streets of the inner city.  These Gaylords were just raising families and settling down; therefore, there wasn’t too much drama from them, and they blended in with the rest of the neighborhood.

Even though there was some gang drama in the late 70s, 80s and 90s it was not very noticeable because this remained one of Chicago’s safest neighborhoods.

In the 1970s the Insane Freaks were the only real gang here.

In the 1980s and 1990s the Freaks still dominated this neighborhood.

In the 2000s and later the Gaylords are all that is in the area and they are a quiet group that looks out for trouble in the neighborhood.

Simon City Royals

Bryn Mawr & Harlem

Stoned Freaks Established 1977-2000s

Milwaukee & Austin (Insane Freaks) Established 1977-2000s

Peterson & Nagle Established 1977-2000s

Northwest Highway & Austin

Gaylords 2000s-present years

Milwaukee & Austin