Chicago Avenue on the north, railroad tracks near Kinzie Avenue on the south, Dan Ryan Expressway on the east, intersection of Chicago Ave and Grand Avenue on the west.
|Gangs founded||C-Notes, Gaylords,|
|Gangs headquartered||C-Notes, Latin Kings, Satan Disciples,|
This area’s borders are Chicago Avenue on the north, railroad tracks near Kinzie Avenue on the south, Dan Ryan Expressway on the east, intersection of Chicago Ave and Grand Avenue on the west.
What is confusing is that the overall West Town neighborhood is divided into multiple sub-neighborhoods but this part of the neighborhood from Chicago Avenue and south has no distinguishing name it can often just be referred to as “West Town” but I don’t like that because if I just tell you about gangs in West Town it will refer to everything in West Town from Wicker Park to Noble Square to East Village, Ukrainian Village and East Humboldt Park. Each of these communities has very unique demographics over time and different gang experiences; therefore, I must declare this area as “Southern West Town” for the sake of distinguishment.
Beginning in the 1880s this area was settled by Sicilian/Italian immigrants over by Smith Park on the west and down to the present-day Dan Ryan Expressway. The first crime element to appear in this neighborhood was the “Black Hand” extortionists that were all of Sicilian/Italian background beginning in the year 1890s. This group sent threatening letters to wealthy elites demanding money or else they would inflict harm. The group rose up to power in the 1900s decade but they crossed the line when they kept threatening the first Chicago Outfit boss “Big Jim” Colosimo.
By 1912 most of the Black Hand was destroyed by the Outfit. After destroying the black hand, the Chicago Outfit made their way into this neighborhood and nearby Noble square by 1920. It was on these streets that the Grand Nobles street gangs formed at Grand and Noble but more specific to the Patch came the Forty-Two gang that formed in 1920 on these streets and the Near West Side in Little Italy.
The Forty-Two Gang was especially violent and vicious composing of teenage boys that grew into violent young men. These boys were hired and used by the Outfit to commit various crimes and some of the Forty Twos were even accepted into the Outfit when they became young adults.
Italian youth gangs continued to dominate this neighborhood throughout the 1930s and 1940s as much of the area consisted of impoverished Italian families.
In the early 1940s many Italian families were forced out of the Little Hell area of the Near North Side bringing more Italian families to this neighborhood as the Cabrini Green low-rise projects took over much of the land in Little Hell.
In 1950 a mafia farm gang called the “C-Notes” began in this neighborhood as a money-making crew that often specialized in jewelry heists. By 1958 the C-Notes took in young Italian youths from Ohio and Leavitt starting the most notorious and long-lasting gang in the Patch. By the later 1950s several more Italian families had migrated here from Little Hell as the Cabrini Green high-rise projects forced them from their homes, thus, increasing the Italian populace further.
The Gaylords were also born on these streets in 1958 that rivaled C-Notes, Dominos and Lazy Gents. These groups were all greasers and all enemies in the older years before Hispanic migration brought Hispanic street gangs to West Town. At this time, I do not know when the Lazy Gents and Dominos formed but they were here by 1958 when C-Notes and Gaylords appeared. It may be possible to Popes arrived at the same time migrating from Irving Park or North Lawndale area, but they were for sure here early on in the 1960s at Chicago Ave and Wood.
This area of West Town had gangs that go far back in time to the 19th century and by the 1950s the greaser culture of gangs took over that manifested into greaser giants like C-Notes and Gaylords. This neighborhood housed the toughest and meanest Gaylords and C-Notes the city has ever seen and some of the toughest gang element in the entire city. Gaylords and C-Notes worked hard to keep these streets safe and kept a watchful eye at the Kinzie street border for undesirable criminal or gang elements drifting in from the Near West Side, but the reputation of these gangs alone kept undesirables out.
In the year 1962 Puerto Rican migration intensified in West Town and even settlement came to Southern West Town especially by Eckhart Park. The park is just over the border in Noble Square, but Gaylord loved that park and hung out there. When the Skulls, a Puerto Rican gang, formed there in 1962 the Gaylords raised hell and attacked them violently until the Skulls retreated in 1964 to Leavitt and Schiller in Wicker Park where they aided the formation of the Latin Kings.
Beginning in 1964 when Hispanic gangs like Latin Kings began to swell in size in West Town the wars between the white greaser clubs in Southern West Town began to die down until they stopped in 1969 when an agreement was reached called the G.C.G or “Gaylords, C-Notes and Gents” unifying Gaylords, C-Notes and Lazy Gents.
In the year 1974 the Gaylords began to decline in numbers in this community as they vested interest in other parts of the city, this branch especially took interest in the northwest side of the city. In 1975 the Gaylords officially left the area making way for Hispanic migration. The Gaylords were part of a wave of white flight as much of the Italian community could no longer tolerate the rising crime and gang activity in West Town. Mexican and Puerto Rican families found the area ideal and affordable. This increased the number of Hispanic C-Note and Lazy Gent gang members. The Lazy Gents then grew larger for a few years while the Popes left the community.
1975 was a major year of neighborhood and gang transformation as Gaylords and Popes exited the area making way for Hispanic gangs. The Maniac Latin Disciples settled in this area as one of their first new sections outside of their original neighborhood as they settled Erie and Wood. The Satan Disciples, a southside mostly Mexican gang settled Ashland and Huron in 1975. Both gangs would become major players in this community. The Harrison Gents would also arrive and begin converting many Lazy gents into their ranks. The Gents even took Chicago and Wood when the Popes left. The Milwaukee Kings even moved their headquarters to Huron and Noble which made them a big-time group in this community.
The C-Notes took on all these newly arriving Hispanic gangs choosing no allies they especially hated Harrison Gents and Satan Disciples.
By the year 1980 Milwaukee Kings, Harrison Gents, Satan Disciples and Maniac Latin Disciples became allied by the Folk alliance and the UPCI alliance. These unities were heavily in effect in the early 1980s which made for some rough years for the C-Notes that were battling all these groups.
When the UPCI disbanded in the mid-80s as the gangs began to have conflicts. In the year 1987 both Harrison Gents and Milwaukee Kings went to war with Satan Disciples which made gang violence in this community become worse.
The 1990s was a violent decade on these streets as several alliances broke down. Beginning in 1994 some very dark times were ahead. Maniac Latin Disciples were now at war with Satan Disciples as Latin Jivers arrived to assist the Maniac Latin Disciples. These mid-1990s wars caused Maniac Latin Disciples and Latin Jivers to leave the area due to too much legal issues caused by the war. Harrison Gents would leave the area as well in the 90s. Milwaukee Kings suffered many legal issues because of their war with Satan Disciples as well and left the area.
In the aftermath of the violent mid-90s wars all that remained was C-Notes and Satan Disciples and a growing new Latin King population by Huron and Hoyne. These are the three gangs that still have dominance over this neighborhood. The Satan Disciples and C-Notes are the largest groups and hate each other deeply.
Since the 2000s decade much of this part of West Town has become heavily gentrified with yuppies moving into the area driving up the values of property to the point that the lower income Hispanic community cannot afford. Most of this is in the eastern portion that was once controlled by the Gaylords, but the gentrification continues to spread west into C-Note and Satan Disciple hoods.
If you are from the young urban professional class, you might be interested to know these significant gangs have walked these streets over time:
Gaylords Established 1958-1975
Grand & Rockwell (Smith Park)
Huron to Grand, Ashland to Ogden (Otis park) Established 1958-1975
Insane Popes (north side group) 60s-1975
Chicago Ave & wood 60s-1975
Latin Kings 90s-present years
Huron & Hoyne (Heaven and Hell) 90s-present years
Grand & Damen
Satan Disciples Established 1975-present years
Erie to Grand, Paulina to Ashland Established
Chicago to Erie, Elizabeth to Racine (Eckhart Park)
Ashland & Huron Established 1975-present years
Elizabeth & Huron
Ohio & Marshfield
C-Notes Established 1950-present years
Chicago to Grand, California to Western (Smith Park)
Chicago to Grand, Western to Damen (Money Side, Ohio & Leavitt is O/L) Established 1950-present years
Ohio & Noble
Latin Jivers 90s
Erie & Wood (Shared with Maniac Latin Disciples and Satan Disciples) 90s
Harrison Gents 1975-1990s
Ashland & Grand 1975-1990s
Chicago & Wood 1975-1990s
Gangster Disciples 2000s-present years
Huron to Erie & Willard 2000s-present years
Maniac Latin Disciples Established 1975-mid 1990s
Erie & Wood Established 1975-mid 1990s
Milwaukee Kings 1975- mid-90s
Huron & Noble 1975-mid-90s
Lazy Gents 50s, 60s, 70s
Erie & Wood
Grand & Noble 50s-1964