Chicago Gang History

Logan Square

NameLogan Square
LocationDiversey Avenue on the north, Bloomingdale Avenue on the south, Chicago River on the east, Pulaski Road on the west. Bucktown – Diversey Avenue on the north, Bloomingdale Avenue on the south, Chicago River on the east, Western Avenue on the west
Settled1836
FounderMartin Kimball
Year annexed1889

 

Logan Square was first settled by Martin Kimball (yes, Kimball Avenue is named after him) in the year 1836.  It was not until 1850 that others began arriving in the area that Martin Kimball had began building farms on the land.  The community became known as the town of “Jefferson” as of 1850 with the exception of the area known today as Bucktown. 

In the year 1863 the City Of Chicago annexed the Bucktown area (then known as Holstein) while Jefferson remained a community of its own.  Another part of the future Logan Square area was another town named “Maplewood.” 

After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 the towns of Jefferson and Maplewood began to grow at a faster rate with several more houses being built.  In the year 1889 both Jefferson and Maplewood were annexed into the city of Chicago and the area was renamed “Logan Square” which was named after General John A. Logan.  The neighborhood was then immediately paved and public transportation was put in place.  Housing construction grew more after the annexation. 

After World War I Russian Jews and Polish immigrants arrived in large numbers making the 1920s one of the best times for Logan Square as the community grew tremendously. 

The 1930s would prove to be a very hard time on the community as the woes of the Great Depression era took its toll on the community and many residents moved out leaving the houses and buildings to fall into a state of deterioration. 

In the late 1950s another wave of residents left the community which sunk Logan Square further into a depression leaving many properties vacant.  The area was sinking into becoming a slum.  A wave of yuppies showed up in the early 1960s that fixed up some properties and helped the neighborhood’s value a little but hard times were still present and low rent in the deteriorated structures became a feasible living scenario for the migrating Puerto Ricans by 1969. 

Right away in 1969 Logan Square became flooded with a Puerto Rican populace much to the objection of working class whites that had lived in the area their whole lives.  Puerto Rican culture became assimilated into this neighborhood and the culture clash resulted in the rise of street gangs in the neighborhood.  The Puerto Rican populace brought migrant street gangs from other communities like the Latin Kings and Spanish Cobras.  The Gaylords street gang responded to the white objection by setting up a Gaylords section near Palmer Square that became known as the “Palmer Square Gaylords” that were all about the expulsion of Latino gangs and slowing down more Puerto Rican migration.  There was also the creation of new gangs that started in Logan Square once the migrant gangs arrived, new clubs formed like GBO/YBO, Latin Lovers and Imperial Gangsters that were Puerto Rican gangs that fought against Gaylords and Latin Kings

In the 1970s more Puerto Rican gangs arrived in Logan Square such as the Spanish Lords (Bucktown), Latin Disciples and the P.R. Stones.  The Simon City Royals arrived at first in assistance to the Gaylords in the earlier 1970s but eventually went to war with them in 1975.

The 1970s through the 1990s proved to be murderous times for Logan Square as the gangs controlled the neighborhood and fought viciously for drug turf.  During the 1970s and the earlier 1980s a race war among the gangs raged on that was said to have effectively slowed down Puerto Rican migration as gangs like the Gaylords and Simon City Royals were geared at keeping the neighborhood white, nevertheless the Latino population reached 65% by the year 2000. 

Starting in the 1990s yuppies came back to Logan Square and began buying and renting renovated property and by the 21st century the yuppies began a massive takeover of the neighborhood pushing more of the lower income classes and Puerto Rican populace out. 

Gang activity dramatically slowed down into the 21st century and the appearance and value of Logan Square changed.  Gang activity still persists in this neighborhood but only in small pockets of the area mainly in the southwest section near West Humboldt Park.  This neighborhood at one time was once a very active gang banging community.  Logan Square in the birthplace of the Imperial Gangsters, GBO/YBO, YLO Cobras, YLO Disciples and possibly the Latin Lovers.

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