Chicago Gang History

Albany Park

NameAlbany Park
LocationChicago River on the east, Edens Expressway and Elston Avenue on the west, Foster Avenue on the north, Montrose Avenue on the south
Settled1868
FounderRichard Rusk
Year annexed1889

Albany Park was first settled in 1868 by Richard Rusk who bought 10-acres of land in the area and built and large farm and brickyard.  He also built the “Rusk Race Track.”  In the 1870s and 1880s German and Swedish immigrants settled in the area and built up a community that became part of Jefferson Township.  In the year 1889 the area was annexed into the city of Chicago. In the year 1893 Charles T. Mogul named the area “Albany Park” after the city of Albany New York he came from.  Mogul and other investors built up the area bringing several business and street car lines to the neighborhood.  In 1912, Russian Jews migrated to Albany Park from the Near West Side neighborhood.  By the 1920s the Jews became the majority in this neighborhood until after World War II.  After the war the Jews moved out, the area fell into economic decline and began to crumble into a slum by the 1970s.  The area became the site of drug addicts and prostitutes in vacant lots and abandoned buildings.  Regardless of the fact that an urban renewal program was launched in 1978 to clean up the slum, gang activity soared in Albany Park as white gangs battled against Puerto Rican gangs.  Latin Kings, Puerto Rican Stones, Simon City Royals and Gaylords settled in Albany Park and wars ensued.  Albany Park had some improvements in crime in the later 1990s and into the 21st century when more middle classes began settling in the area; however, gang activity is still prevalent but far less than decades past.

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