West Ridge
West Ridge

West Ridge

Origins Annexed c. 1893
Area Far North Side

Howard Street on the north, Bryn Mawr Ave to Western then up Western to Peterson then Peterson to Ravenswood all on the south, Ridge BLVD to Devon then down Ravenswood all on the east, Kedzie Ave on the west

Gangs headquartered Latin Kings, Black P Stones, Four Corner Hustlers,

The West Ridge neighborhood has interesting history as a former Potawatomi Native American settlement during the 17th century up until multiple treaties were drawn on these lands between 1816 and 1829.  This is how the neighborhood has a celebrated Native American history and the reason how Indian Boundary Park got its name as this was the site of the northern border of the treaty. (Fact source, http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/1341.html#:~:text=West%20Ridge%2C%20also%20called%20West,treaties%20between%201816%20and%201829.)

The early European settlement of West Ridge is intertwined with Rogers Park and the Evanston suburb’s history as all this area was part of a town started in the 1830s called “Ridgeville.”  The boundaries that would eventually become West Ridge were not settled until the early 1840s when land was for sale west of Ridge Boulevard.  This is when German and Luxembourger farmers settled on these lands for the first time.  This early settlement was from Ridge to Western Ave in the area by Devon Avenue.  (Fact source, http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/1341.html#:~:text=West%20Ridge%2C%20also%20called%20West,treaties%20between%201816%20and%201829.)

This area remained rural throughout the 1840s-1890s with truck farms, greenhouses, and open prairies.  This area was basically just the rural part of Rogers Park as this area shared local governance until the people west of Ridge BLVD became fed up and wanted their own government which led to the creation if the Village of West Ridge in 1890.  Three years later in 1893 West Ridge annexed into the city of Chicago but remained highly rural.  (Fact source, http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/1341.html#:~:text=West%20Ridge%2C%20also%20called%20West,treaties%20between%201816%20and%201829.)

In the 1900s decade this area finally began to boom after brickyards relocated here.  The North Shore Channel of the Sanitary District of Chicago opened in 1909 making clay more available and causing the brickyard industry to boom further.  Scandinavian and German settlement flourished and there began the construction of worker’s cottages in the more western part of the community west of Western Ave.  (Fact source, http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/1341.html#:~:text=West%20Ridge%2C%20also%20called%20West,treaties%20between%201816%20and%201829.)

In the 1920s West Ridge grew further as several bungalows and two flats were built.  Apartment buildings like Park Gables and Tudor revival apartments were built by Indian Boundary Park.  This was also the time the business district along Devon Avenue was built that now allowed residents to not need to venture to Evanston or Rogers Park for goods and services, this helped the population grow more. (Fact source, http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/1341.html#:~:text=West%20Ridge%2C%20also%20called%20West,treaties%20between%201816%20and%201829.)

As much of Chicago suffered during the Great Depression years of the 1930s West Ridge flourished as the population and economic development continued.  The Granville Garden Apartments (Granville Courts Condominiums) were built at Granville and Hoyne in 1938 which really showed progress.  (Fact source, http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/1341.html#:~:text=West%20Ridge%2C%20also%20called%20West,treaties%20between%201816%20and%201829.)

In the late 1940s and into the 1950s West Ridge now saw a heavy increase in a Jewish population as Chicago Jews began to move out of neighborhoods like North Lawndale, Near West Side and South Shore.  Many Jewish families were renters in their former neighborhoods and now they would come to West Ridge to settle in houses as homeowners.  This began a major Jewish culture in this neighborhood over time.

In the year 1975 the cultural identity of the West Ridge community began to change again as Jews were moving into the suburbs while Russian Jews, Pakistani and East Indian migrants began to settle the neighborhood.  The East Indian culture became strong and began to reflect heavily along Devon Ave as many Indian restaurants opened that offered the finest Indian cuisine in Chicago.  Many Indian businesses would open in the neighborhood.  The Pakistani culture become just as strong as East Indian culture as several Arab owned businesses opened and many fine Pakistani restaurants began to grace Devon Ave with some of the finest Middle Eastern cuisines in Chicago.  The Devon Ave corridor developed the nickname “India Town” because of the rich southeast Asian culture.

Unfortunately, many migrating Arab and Indian youths succumb to racially motivated bullying from the mostly American born culture of West Ridge.  This caused many Arab and Indian youths to band together as groups to prevent violent attacks and other racially motivated harms.

In the year 1979 Hispanic and black migration arrived in West Ridge.  Black settlement came to the area of Howard to Touhy and from Ridge to Western.  This was an extension of the Rogers Park black settlement that began in 1975 and now expanded west of Ridge.  The Black P Stones street gang arrived from Rogers Park branched off from “The Jungle” along Howard Street.  Much of the Hispanic settlement was in the southern part of the community along Granville Ave.  This is where the Latin Kings and Maniac Latin Disciples chose to settle alongside this Hispanic migration wave.  Much of the reason from the Stones, Kings and MLDs arriving was victimization the Hispanic community was facing because of racial clashing.  The Simon City Royals and Insane Popes arrived in 1979 to aid mostly white youths that were all about conservation of the neighborhood in how it had been and were upset about black and Hispanic migration.  The Popes and Latin Kings began to recruit among the Arab population taking in Arab youths that had been bullied after their arrival.  The Latin Kings especially had the largest following among Arab youths as the Assyrian Kings spawned out of the Latin Kings.  The Latin Kings helped establish this branch along Granville so that Arab youths could operate this branch independently.  The Assyrian Kings would then prove themselves to be a very down branch of Latin Kings and this group became ruthless with a violent reputation.  Simon City Royals and Insane Popes teamed up against Latin Kings and Black P Stones.

In the 1980s and 1990s West Ridge saw the most violent years for gang issues.  Although the gangbanging was intense it never reached alarming levels especially since West Ridge residents were working hard to watch crime and maintain the values of the community.  This effectively slowed the migration of lower income Chicagoans moving into the area as West Ridge did not want the same issues as northern Rogers Park.

In the 2000s-decade gang conflicts slowed as Simon City Royals, Maniac Latin Disciples and Insane Popes left the area.   Black P Stones and Latin Kings continue to be a presence in this community but not like the 1980s and 1990s.

In the 1980s and 1990s West Ridge was dominated by Latin Kings, Black P Stones, Simon City Royals, and Insane Popes

In the 2000s up to present West Ridge is dominated by Latin Kings and Black P Stones.

Here is a list of prominent gangs that have walked these streets over time:

Black P Stones Established 1979-present years

Bell from Highland to Devon

Howard to Touhy, Ridge to Western (The Jungle)

Insane Popes (North side group) Established 1979-2000s

Glenlake & Washtenaw (Green Briar Park)

Peterson & California (Mather Park)

Simon City Royals Established 1979-2000s

Lunt & Campbell (Indian Boundary Park) Established 1979-2000s

Latin Kings Established 1979-present years

Rosemont & Claremont

Rosemont & Richmond

Peterson from Fairfield to California

Touhy to Lunt, Rockwell to Western (Indian Boundary Park)

Morse to Pratt, Bell to Ridge

Rosemont to Granville, Campbell to Western (Assyrian Latin Kings)

Four Corner Hustlers 90s-present years

Howard to Birchwood, Western to Bell 90s-present years

Maniac Latin Disciples Established 1979-2000s

Rosemont & California