Chicago Gang History

Lakeview

NameLakeview
LocationMontrose Avenue on the north (west of Buena Park) Irving Park Road on the north (east of Buena Park), Diversey Parkway on the south, Lake Michigan on the east, Ravenswood Avenue on the west; Wrigleyville: Irving Park Road on the north, Cornelia Street on the south, Halsted Street on the east, Racine Street on the west
Settled1853
FounderJames Rees and Elisha Hundley
Year annexed1889

This area was first discovered by the white man in 1836 when Conrad Sulzer arrived; however, he did not settle in the area.  The first actual structure built was not until 1853 when James Rees and Elisha Hundley built the Hotel Lakeview which served as a getaway from Chicago’s elite.  This hotel was built at the present day intersection of Byron and Lakeshore Drive.  Right after the construction of the hotel immediate settlement of German and Swedish immigrants came to the area and built up several homes.  BY 1857 a community was present; therefore, the area became a part of “Lakeview Township” and this area was the majority part of Lakeview Township.  Build up and settlement continued and then by 1887 the area was built up enough to be called the “City Of Lakeview.”  In the year 1889 all of Lakeview Township was annexed into the city of Chicago which made Lakeview an official Chicago neighborhood.  Lakeview got a big boost in settlement in 1914 when Weeghman field was built as the playing field for the Chicago Whales which was a brand new team playing in the new professional Federal League that only lasted until 1916.  Charles Weeghman then purchased the Chicago Cubs in 1916 and brought them from the west side to the north side right in Lakeview.  By 1921 the field and team were sold to William Wrigley Jr. who renamed the field “Wrigley Field,” in turn, the area of Lakeview from Irving Park Road on the north, Cornelia Street on the south, Halsted on the east and Racine on the west became designated as “Wrigleyville.”  After the Chicago Cubs arrived the area boomed even more with several more people moving into Lakeview and apartment buildings were constructed for working class residents that could not afford houses.  With the rush or more people arriving in this neighborhood came an alarming trend of childless and/or single parent families that mainly dwelled in the apartment high rises.  Some of these residents could not afford to pay higher rents; therefore, the apartments were an ideal place to settle, but eventually they would start to see some deterioration.  As the 1950s ushered in the childless couples craze increased even more as homosexual men found the area ideal as they settled near the lake in an area that became known as “Boystown” which is Grace and Halsted on the north, Belmont Ave on the south, North Broadway Street on the east and North Halsted Street on the west.  As Puerto Ricans were displaced out of nearby Lincoln Park, some migrated to Lakeview by 1962 into the rental apartments that offered cheaper rent.  The Puerto Rican families lived in the shabbier apartments that were mainly occupied by single people or childless couples.  Local white greaser gangs objected to the arrival of the Puerto Rican populace and began attacking scores of Latino youths in the streets this lead to the formation of the “Latin Eagles” street gang that was created to combat the greaser gangs.  Gangs such as the “Aristocrats” were one of the earliest arch enemies of the Eagles.  By 1968 the gang wars got much worse with the arrival of the Simon City Royals and the formation of the P.R. Stones street gang.  By the 1970s Lakeview was facing serious gang and drug problems as there were gang members and drug dealers all over especially near Wrigleyville.  In the 1980s Lakeview once again became an attractive area for single people and childless couples to move into despite the fact that gangs dwelled in the area and were committing several acts of violence on each other.  Property values began to go up in the neighborhood as more yuppies moved in and by the 1990s gang activity was beginning to slow down due to yuppies taking over.  The early 1990s saw the last of major gang activity after the Gangsters Disciples moved near Wrigleyville, by the later 1990s the property they moved into was renewed, went up in value and yuppies took it all over.  By the turn of the 21st century almost all gang activity was flushed out as the neighborhood became mostly controlled by yuppies and upper classes.  Lakeview still has an old legacy as a gangster neighborhood in the 20th century as this was the birthplace of the Latin Eagles and P.R. Stones street gangs and also the rebirth spot of the Simon City Royals.

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