West Lawn
West Lawn

West Lawn

Area Southwest Side

59th on the north until the tracks to Marquette the Marquette to Cicero Ave all on the north. 77th Street to Pulaski then up Pulaski to the railroad tracks all on the south. Central Park Ave on the east. Cicero Ave to Marquette then Marquette to the tracks on the west.

Gangs headquartered Satan Disciples, Two Six,

The West Lawn neighborhood was mainly unsettled land in the 19th century because the area was very marshy and not viewed as an ideal place to live.  West Lawn was not really settled until 1915 when the industrial sector developed in the nearby Clearing neighborhood.  Transit from a horse-drawn street railway to Clearing made the area desirable and soon homes were built, and an actual community was started here.  German, Irish, Czech, Italian, Polish and some Lithuanians settled in West Lawn.  (Fact source, http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/1339.html)

During and after the second world war more migration came to West Lawn after Midway Airport opened and provided several jobs.  The Ford factory and the 77th and Cicero bomber engine factory provided jobs causing population growth and more houses to be built.  This became a flourishing working-class community that became very guarded of the value of their community.  When the Chicago Housing Authority constructed the Airport Homes public housing projects in 1946 that would allow African American veterans to settle in this complex resident of the neighborhood violently objected by rioting on the corner of 60th and Karlov.  This was the Airport Homes riots that gained little media attention at Mayor Edward J. Kelly’s request to keep this out of the public eye.  This was an example of racial discrimination that perhaps should have gained more attention.  In the aftermath the citizens of West Lawn had made it clear they had no interest in racially integrating because they feared a declination of their community.  (Fact source, http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/1339.html)  I am not sure when but the Airport projects closed some years later.

During the 1950s through the 1970s West Lawn became the neighborhood to move to for south siders fleeing alongside white flight looking to escape racially changing communities and this made these streets even more coveted by the working-class white Chicagoans heavily concerned with neighborhood redlining and declination.  The unfortunate side effect of this pride was many West Lawn residents were not friendly toward minority groups trying to move into this neighborhood and many families of color avoided this community.

The Ford City Shopping Center opened in 1965 which further enhanced the local economy making West Lawn a more attractive community. (Fact source, http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/1339.html)  The area of 63rd and Pulaski become the most bustling area of this neighborhood.

West Lawn residents were very active in politics, and many had sharp conservative views that lasted well into the 1980s.  In the 1970s some Mexican families have settled West Lawn but for the most part these families would blend in with the community and became socially accepted.  Arab families also moved into the 63rd Street area since the 1970s who also became part of the community.

In the year 1990 a stronger Mexican migration wave came to West Lawn that was less desirable to the conservative white community; however, many white working-class families began to leave West Lawn and they were almost always replaced by Mexican families as interest from whites moving into this neighborhood began to decline.  I am not sure if there was major racial strife in 1990 when Hispanic people began to move in, in higher volume but the Two Six gang and Satan Disciples arrived that year and may have been brought here to fight against discrimination, but I am not sure.  What I am sure of is both gangs went to war on these streets with each other as dominating gangs.  The gang wars would get heated at times and the arrival of the Krazy Get Down Boys in 1992 did not help matters.

Since 1990 West Lawn has been dominated by Satan Disciples and Two Six.

These the are the significant gangs that have walked these streets over time:

Krazy Get Down Boys Established 1992-present years

61st & Lawndale (GetDown City)

Saints 90s

63rd & Kostner

Two Six Established 1990-present years

59th to 67th, Pulaski to Central Park Ave

63rd & Hamlin

68th & Hamlin

Satan Disciples Established 1990-present years

59th to 61st, Kenneth to Pulaski

Latin Souls 90s

63rd & Karlov