|Founded||Founded c. 1952 by Anthony Anarina and Bobby Shipball in or near West Town West Town: Southern West Town (The Patch)|
Early 1950s as a gang. Southern part of the West Town neighborhood, Eckhart Park, Huron and Throop “Guys”.
|Formerly known as||
Junior Postals late 1940s-early 1950s (not a gang at the time); Gay Lords early 1950s-early 1960s; Gaylords early 1960s-21st century; Gaylords
|Colors||Black, Grey, Green, and Light blue|
|Color usage||Black and Green - early 1950s-early 1960s; Any section started by Kilbourn Park Gaylords wore black and light blue, any section started by Palmer Gaylords wore black and grey|
|Symbols||Skull, Top Hat, Cane, Dice, Whiskey Bottle, Ku Klux Klansman, Swastika, Celtic Cross, and Embroidered G|
Embroidered “G” early 1950s-early 1960s; Ku Klux Klansman, swastica – early 1970s – early 1980s; Celtic cross with flames, 712 – early 1960s to present
The Gaylords are one the oldest street gangs in Chicago. We will begin by tracing their roots which date all the way back to the mid 1930s, now this does not mean the Gaylords can have credit for being around in the 1930s, it just means they have roots from back then. I have had to look at many sources to piece together this history of the Gaylords and a lot of info can be found on the Gaylord’s website http://www.gaylords712.com which is one of the biggest sources I used.
I will start this story in the mid 1930s in the Noble Square section of the West Town neighborhood on Chicago’s west side (West Town is technically a west side neighborhood but often considered part of the north side unofficially, look it up). At this point in time the “Postal Athletic Club” was created that was heavily active in sports. They were registered as an official SAC (social athletic club) club which makes them fully legit. Let me clarify something, the Postal Athletic Club was never involved in any criminal activity and this was not a gang or even close and they were in existence at least 25 years maybe even more. They had a store front somewhere in Noble Square that was likely owned by a member. In this store they had a separate room for all of their trophies, a collection that grew as the years went by. In the late 1940s the Postal Athletic Club established a younger offshoot known as the “Junior Postals.” This was for the kids in the neighborhood to join to keep them out of trouble and give them something to do. They especially loved basketball and softball (Short & Strodtbeck 1961).
In the early 1950s the Junior Postals grew a little older and started acting like greasers, drinking, cussing and all in all causing trouble. They took their drunkenness into the Postal’s club house and ended up wrecking sports equipment that the club house owned. The Postal Athletic Club had, had enough of these teens and threw them out of the club house and into the streets. At that point in time a couple of leaders developed out of this club Anthony “Johnny Boy” Anarina and his second in command Bobby Shipball, these two boys took the Junior Postals to create their own club and registered their own SAC that they called the club the “Gay Lords” in the year 1952.
The Gay Lords sports were basketball in the colder seasons then Baseball in the warmer seasons. The Gay Lords played in tournaments at St. Mary’s church and were said to have a really good team for a long time. I believe the exact year of formation was 1952 for the Gay Lords, especially since the rival C-Notes formed in 1952 a few blocks away. When the Gay Lords were first cast out, they hung out at a place they called “Guys” which was a candy store owned by a woman at Huron and Throop. The Gay Lords were only allowed to hang out outside of the shop but if they gathered in numbers inside, the woman would push them out. When it was cold outside the Gay Lords hung out in Eckhart Park which has the boundaries of Chestnut to Chicago Ave and Elizabeth to Noble. At this Park they liked to hang out in the lobby, the game room and the gym. The park staff was always upset with the Gay Lords because they made a lot of noise, were often disrespectful and caused some destruction, typical of a greaser club.
The 1950s Gay Lords could be seen wearing light green summer jackets with a coat of arms sewn on it with a shield, a skull with a top hat, a whiskey bottle, dice and a cane. The early racial makeup of the Gay Lords was mostly white members that were Polish, German and Italian and early accounts even say there were Mexican members too (Short & Strodtbeck, 1961)
Now let us expand further on an account on March 3rd 1954 that the Gaylords712 site showed as early evidence of their existence. I retrieved this very article Gaylords712 briefly discuss on their site and I can put together more of the Gaylord’s early history from it. The article was in the Chicago Tribune dated March 3, 1954 and it talks about a basketball game at 2300 S. Lawndale Ave (23rd and Lawndale) between the Gay Lords and the Outlaws in which the Gay Lords beat the Outlaws in a close match 58 to 56. After the game, a huge brawl ensued that involved 60 guys slugging it out. I could only imagine the tensions were really high after having such a close game. Those that know basketball know that the end of a close game results in fouls and hot tempers, so everything just erupted on that court. Apparently someone called the Police as soon as 50 members of the Outlaws showed up to join in on the fight. When the Police came they only arrested one member of the Outlaws but they arrested 5 Gay Lords. Two other Italian guys were arrested that resided in Cicero who I think were old school Outlaws, but Police found no gang affiliation with these two men that were 24 and 25 years old. The other 6 that were arrested were 16 to 19 years old. The addresses of all the Gay Lords mentioned all had Little Village addresses not Noble Square addresses or anywhere close to that area.
At first this will lead one to believe that maybe this was another Gay lords club that died out a long time ago but then again there were indeed Gay Lords in Little Village (a South Lawndale neighborhood) at 24th and whipple and up and down 21st to 26th street that was there as early as the late 1950s. Well now this article shows that these Gay Lords were there sooner than legend has it! The Gay Lords in this article all had Little Village addresses which is evidence enough that they were there. Another interesting thing is that the notorious Outlaws Motorcycle Club that is all over the world and even featured in the History Channel’s “Gang Land” has their first Chicago headquarters at 25th and Rockwell in the Little Village neighborhood that they established in 1950 after they abandoned their very first post in McCook Illinois. There is incredible evidence from this article that this is the same Outlaws MC that fought the Gay Lords this night because believe me, no other gang would dare be allowed to use the name “Outlaws” in the Little Village area or anywhere in the city because the 1%er Outlaws MC would kill them off. The article also shows the Outlaws were in strong enough numbers to bring 50+ heads into a brawl which is right where the MC would have been at this point in time numbers wise. So there you have it, the Gay Lords already had a chapter in Little Village in the early 1950s and they were enemies with the notorious Outlaws MC that is now worldwide. It is also a fact that the Gaylords were well established in that neighborhood from the late 1950s until the mid 1960s that had a large presence in Harrison High School and Spry Elementary school both at 24th and Marshall Blvd. The known set was at 24th and Whipple but they hung out at 25th and Rockwell at a garage right across the street from the Outlaws club house (there is still a garage across from that clubhouse today!). It is also a fact that Little Village Gaylords got into motorcycle riding in Little Village, this would prompt fights with Outlaws over things such as girls. 55th and Ashland Gaylords were known to fight with the Outlaws MC as well in the later 1960s, so there is a history of Outlaws and Gaylords going at it.
An interesting thing I want to point out is I theorize by 1954 the Gay Lords had a chapter in the Little Italy section within the Near West Side neighborhood at around Polk and Marshfield or Taylor and Marshfield. I gather this theory because on the Gaylords712 site shows a SAC membership card for 1954 that has the address for the Gay Lords at 820 S. Marshfield.
The Little Village Gaylords’ headquarters was at 24th and Whipple; however, they dominated the area of 21st street to 26th street and Whipple to Western Ave. Of course in the middle of this territory is the Outlaws MC at 25th and Rockwell, so it can be seen where the conflict came from. This Gaylords’ territory is quite large and they had about 60 members in this area by the later 1950s.
In about 1958 the Gaylords opened a chapter in the Heart of Chicago area at 18th and Western, mainly because that area was becoming flooded with Mexican gangs that were migrating from the West Loop, the Bridgeport chapter may have also opened simultaneously at Archer and Throop. The Pilsen chapter started clashing with the Satan Disciples that landed one block away from 18th and Western at 18th and Oakley. In about 1958 the Marquette Park chapter opened at 67th and Kedzie.
The Little Village Gaylords were the beginning point for south side Gaylords that were yet to come. By the mid 1960s the Little Village Gaylords were fighting with Latin Kings and Two Sixs as Mexicans first started moving into the neighborhood.
The Latin Kings were comprised of 4 different gangs that united in the year 1964. One of the gangs was the Imperials from the South Loop area, then there was the Royal Kings from the nearby West Loop area, the third piece was from Pilsen known as the Coulter Kings and the biggest threat to the Gaylords was the Mexican Kings from Little Village at 24th and Marshall Boulevard that formed in 1953. When all four of these gangs united it created one big monster known as the “Latin Kings” that wanted to rule all down 26th Street, they also wanted to keep 24th and Marshall that they nicknamed “The Boulevards,” and Boulevard LKs became heavy foes of Little Village Gaylords. There was a lot of anger and resentment in the community from other Mexicans about the Latin King arrival so that is what prompted the formation of the Two Six gang in the same year of 1964, regardless, both gangs became enemies of Little Village Gaylords.
Not only did Latin Kings become large in Little Village in 1964, they also got huge in Wicker Park and West Humboldt Park. West Humboldt Park was a white neighborhood and many young greasers resented the arrival of several Puerto Ricans and Latin Kings all at once. The Simon City Gang, Royals, Jokers, Drakers were gangs for pissed off white youths but many times they were not liked organizations, especially since Simon City only wanted bug guys back then and the Jokers were said to be real assholes, so when the Gaylords came to Humboldt Park it was a godsend for many youths, and now another chapter was born that opened territory at Augusta and Monticello, Keystone and Wabansia and Springfield and Lemoyne.
White flight became a major phenomenon in the later 1960s in Little Village which was one contributing factor to the end of the Little Village Gaylords but also many of them joined the military and fought in Vietnam. The Gaylords of the earlier 1950s did not seem to stay in the gang very long and were likely already retired by the late 1950s, this will explain why the earlier 1950s Little Village Gaylords were forgotten.
Throughout the 1950s, the Gay Lords at least had two chapters but they were unaware of each other or at least the Noble Square Gay Lords were not aware of the Little Village chapter. The Noble Square chapter only had about 30-40 members by the early 1960s. This shows that the organization was very disorganized in a larger sense in the early days. In the early 1960s the President of the organization told social services that he was not even sure of whom was all in the Gaylords because there were some members that only hung out here and there and some other real young ones he was not aware of, at least 7 members on his list, which shows how easy it could have been for the Gaylords to have formed somewhere else in the city without the main chapter even knowing about it, regardless, the gang spread to Bridgeport, Marquette Park, Little Village and Humboldt Park before the more organized times starting in 1969 (Short & Strodtbeck, 1961).
There were Senior Gay Lords and Junior Gay Lords dating back to the early days. It was also in the early 1960s that the Gay Lords were in a transition with their name changing from “Gay Lords” to “Gaylords” and their new colors were to be grey and black or light blue and black depending on the set. Another big change was the emblem that the Gaylords would wear, as the skull with whiskey bottle etc… was being replaced by a Celtic cross with a sunburst which would become the permanent Gaylords’ symbol (Short & Strodtbeck, 1961).
By 1966 the Little Village Gaylords had almost completely died out due to the fact that most of them wanted to serve their country and joined the military to go fight in the Vietnam War. As this set died out, a new set was given birth in the Back of The Yards section of the New City neighborhood in the Sherman Park area on the south side. The 18th and Western Gaylords came to this Back of The Yards/West Englewood border and breathed life into the Sherman Park Gaylords at 55th and Ashland, 51st and Wood and 52nd and Throop. Eager youths in the area wanted to join the battle against the Latin Souls, Black P Stones and the Black Disciples that were threatening the area from a few blocks away in the West Englewood neighborhood. The Sherman Park Gaylords also were known to duke it out with the Outlaws MC back in these days just like the Gaylords of Little Village used to do. The youths of Sherman Park needed protection from black gangs that came over the Garfield Boulevard border and Latin Souls from east of the park; therefore, they joined the cause and were the last southern most set to ever spring up for the Gaylords except for maybe the 25th and Oakley Gaylords that appeared in Pilsen around this time. It was at this point in the Gaylord’s existence when they were not very well known in the city of Chicago, even though it was rumored there were about 1,000 members at this point in time.
In the late 1960s the Gaylords had grown older in the Noble Square/East Village and became a very serious organization that brought fear to all rival gangs in the area. The Gaylords didn’t wait for rivals to invade their turf, the Gaylords would come pay a visit to rival neighborhoods and wreck havok. Gaylords were violent and would even drag the dead bodies of rivals from the bumpers of their cars down the street. Older retired rivals can still talk about how it was a lot of grief when they had to go against these Gaylords and when the Gaylords showed up several cars full of guys would show up and beat the crap out of the rivals. The Gaylord’s worst enemies now were the Latin Kings, Harrison Gents and Ashland Vikings.
Even though there was no complex organization of the sections of the gang before 1969, they organization still spread like wildfire all over the city, so someone or someones within the Gaylords organization must have had the goal to help frustrated white youths in racially changing neighborhoods slow down Puerto Rican, Mexican and African American migration.
In 1968 the Gaylords and their enemies the C-Notes found common ground and created an alliance known as the GCG (Gaylords, C-Notes and Lazy Gents). This coalition was put together by these three white gangs to keep Latinos out of southern West Town. This was the beginning of a wonderful friendship between C-Notes and Gaylords. This alliance was seen as necessary because Puerto Rican began heavily migrating into C-Note and Gaylord territory in 1968 and of course this brought the arrival of the Latin Kings that felt this area should be theirs.
By 1969 Puerto Rican migration had spread widely all through Humboldt Park both east and west, Wicker Park was in greater number, Noble Square, East Village, Albany Park were now becoming increasingly Latino Logan Square experienced a sudden rush of Puerto Rican migration and also the Latin Kings and Spanish Cobras were spreading like wild fire.
Imperial Gangsters suddenly were a big thing by 1969 in Logan Square. Once again young white youths were falling victim to bullying by neighborhood gangs that were not of the same skin color. I will need to take a moment to clarify that Gaylords were not only for white members, they also took in Latinos and blacks as far back as the 1950s. The Gaylords mainly opposed the changing of their neighborhood and foreign influence changing the appearance and function of the neighborhood. These neighborhoods had Hispanics and blacks in them before the major Hispanic migration and many Hispanic kids that lived around here before the big migration could not identify with their newly arrived brethren because they had lived in America their whole lives and prospered among their white neighbors. They were also die hard Americans and wanted to see their neighborhood free of foreign influence; therefore, they joined the Gaylords to fight for the cause. Even though their fellow Gaylords would have deep animosity toward black and Hispanics many of times they still knew they were heavily respected and their fellow Gaylords would die for them and that these terms were not directed toward them. Early gangs were very much brought about by racism and bullying and the hate went both ways, in some situations the whites were the bigger bullies, in some situations the blacks or Latinos were bigger bullies, it was never a one way street; therefore, I am trying to write from all perspectives and in this situation we are exploring the Gaylord’s struggle which now takes us back to Logan Square.
Ever since the mid 1960s Logan Square began to be populated with more and more Latinos, but most of them were setting up in Wicker Park and Humboldt Park at first but now by the later 1960s the Latino invasion was spreading in Logan Square as well.
Logan Square was becoming a gang banging neighborhood as Spanish Cobras, Latin Kings and Imperial Gangsters were fighting for territory on these crumbling streets of growing poverty. Logan Square was becoming a neighborhood of poverty and hard times and youths of all races were feeling the pressures of poverty resting on their shoulders. As Latin Kings and Imperial Gangsters battled for control of this neighborhood and Spanish Cobras fought to make inroads here, many white youths were bullied by these organizations that were not all about taking in whites yet at this point in their history or at least not here in Logan Square.
In 1969 that the Kilbourn Park (KPGL) Gaylords from the neighboring Irving Park neighborhood came to visit the Palmer Heads street gang. KPGLs had just formed earlier that year after youths that frequented 20th Century Bowl at 3253 North Cicero Ave decided to become Gaylords and began congregating right outside the bowling alley at School Street and Cicero Ave in the Belmont – Cragin neighborhood.
After School and Cicero opened up then Gaylords’ influence spread east and west of school and Cicero as they now opened territory in Belmont – Cragin at areas such as Belden and Lavergn (Blackhawk Park), Belden and Major, Fullerton and Monitor, Wrightwood and Cicero, Austin and Diversey, George and Mcvicker and the Manor Bowling Alley at 3124 North Central Ave (Central and Belmont).
The Gaylords marched into Kilbourn Park in 1969 and viciously battled the Almighty Popes (Insane Popes) that controlled that park, the fight went in favor of the Belmont-Cragin Gaylords and this gave the Gaylords Kilbourn Park at Addison and Kilbourn and KPGL was born. Rumor spread all around the schools and all around the Hermosa and Irving Park neighborhoods that the Gaylords pulled off a big victory now many youths wanted to be KPGLs, this caused new sets to open in the Irving Park neighborhood at Warwick and Kenton, Waveland and Whipple, Bryon and Albany and Francisco and Column. Then Gaylords opened sets in the Hermosa neighborhood which is where Kilbourn Park is where Kilbourn Park is physically located, as they opened at Kildare and Fullerton, Kolmar and George, Tripp and Armitage and Belden and Kenneth as Gaylord came to fight against the Spanish Cobras that were mainly concentrated near Kelvyn Park.
From the KPGL and all the spreading of Gaylords into Irving Park, Hermosa and Belmont-Cragin came an arrival into the central Austin neighborhood to battle against black gangs like Vice Lords and Black Gangster Disciples as black migration first began to take off like a steamroller in Austin, the territories of Ohio and Leclaire and Leamington and Jackson by Moore Park opened in 1969.
In 1969 this mighty influence of KPGL and School and Cicero came to Logan Square to convince the Palmer Heads to become a part of Gaylords and this is when Lawndale and Altgeld opened up in Logan Square then immediately spread to California and Palmer to create the “Palmer Gaylords” (PGL) that opened themselves a new turf at Palmer and Sacramento. The PGL spread influence further in Logan Square to the mighty Moffat and Campbell, Ridgeway and Fullerton, Diversey and Rockwell and Avers and Altgeld, then eventually east in Logan Square into the Bucktown area at Leavitt and Lyndale. Soon legendary battles were fought in Logan Square that involved the PGL fighting viciously to keep their turf while bringing in as many troops as possible.
Poverty was indeed a factor in expanding the Gaylords’ empire and 1969 was an explosive year for rapid recruitment and opening new territory up north with the exception of their original hood in southern West Town that was lagging recruitment and actually beginning the process of losing turf especially after a Gaylord killed a Latin King named Juan Rivera, now Latin Kings began the invasion of this part of West Town accompanied with the usual Puerto Rican migration.
The KPGL influence spread in that same year of 1969 over to the badly decayed streets of the Uptown neighborhood. Bombed out crumbling buildings lined the streets with debris spewing from its architecture. Vagrants were seen sleeping in the streets begging for change to support their drug or alcohol habits while trash blew in the wind next to destroyed immobile vehicles. Uptown was indeed a sight of urban decay and extreme poverty that affected all races of people and even southern whites that had migrated there from the south in the 1950s and American Indians that migrated from reservations.
Puerto Rican Migration along with African American migration was beginning to happen here in Uptown which brought not only an unfamiliar culture but also an unfamiliar gang element. New African American gangs such as the Black P Stones, Black Gangster Disciples and Vice Lords were moving into Uptown and the Latin Kings were brought in from the new Latino element. This was now prime opportunity for the Gaylords to move into Uptown and recruit more soldiers for neighborhood defense and it all started at the intersection of Sunnyside Ave and Magnolia Ave. This was a legendary set that fought Latin Kings tooth and nail for many years until it folded. Soon after Sunnyside and Magnolia, Lawrence and Broadway and Wilson and Dover “Dover Lords” opened up in Uptown.
1969 was indeed a key year in Gaylord history as they spread intensely throughout the city and were now heavily battling Latin Kings, Latin Souls, Black Gangster Disciples, Black P Stones, Vice Lords, Spanish Cobras, Insane Popes, Satan Disciples and Imperial Gangsters. It seems like there was a master plan in 1969 for domination of many parts of the city that was fully organized by the Gaylords, it sure would explain this sudden massive expansion into several neighborhoods.
As the 1970s ushered in the Gaylords would soon become giants in the city of Chicago expanding in many new territories that provided much more promise than their original sets from prior to 1969. Neighborhoods were changing rapidly from white to Latino or white to black and the Gaylords’ main goal was to slow this down, many claim they were successful in slowing down migration especially in the 1970s and 1980s. The 1960s did not prove as successful and their original faction in southern West Town was dying out. The area was changing racially from white to Latino and Latin Kings were the much larger gang taking everything over. The Gaylords stopped vesting in this neighborhood and moved their main headquarters to Kilbourn Park. The early 1970s was the last sightings of southern West Town Gaylords, but that was not a major blow to the organization since 1969 was a big year of major recruitment.
By the early 1970s the 18th and Western Gaylords had a slight fluttering of expansion in the Heart of Chicago area when “Kingfish,” the leader of the Gaylords on 18th flipped a group of white Satan Disciples that no longer agreed with the way the SDs were changing as far as the selling of higher volumes of drugs. The flipping of these SDs into the Gaylords had no effect on the growth of the SDs because they found many more recruits to take place of the Ex SDs. The Gaylords of 18th began having more struggles because the neighborhood was changing faster than ever from white to brown and Mexican gangs were growing much larger than ever such as Ambrose, Satan Disciples and Latin Counts. The Gaylords did not have enough allies over there to back them up either.
Getting on the subject of allies, the white gangs were now feeling outnumbered in their original neighborhoods by the early 1970s. It was soon felt that Latino gangs had the upper hand in the streets of the northern part of the city. In changing neighborhoods, members of white gangs would often have to deal with grueling days where they would have to battle one gang after another just to cross from one part of the neighborhood to the next, kind of like the movie “The Warriors.”
In 1971 a big meeting or meetings were called for all white gangs to attend that were mainly from the northern part of the city and some south siders, this was to discuss to growing problem of Latino gangs such as Latin Kings, Spanish Cobras, Latin Disciples, Latin eagles, Imperial Gangsters, Satan Disciples and many others. This meeting was to bring about an entire unity of white gangs. The unity was a success for the next two years as Simon City Royals were shaking hands with Gaylords and so on. The unity was called the “WPO” or “White Power Organization” which greatly contributed to major territorial expansion for white gangs. Almighty Popes (now known as North side Insane Popes) opened up several sets during these years, Simon City Royals turned into a power house organization, C-Notes rolled in many new pieces of territory, Young Freaks (Now known as Stoned Freaks) converted into a full fledged street gang and opened lot of new turf in the early 1970s, Taylor Jousters were able to expand outside of the Near West Side neighborhood and of course the Gaylords would benefit from this alliance as well.
In 1971 the Gaylords opened up their first piece of territory in the Portage Park neighborhood on Chicago’s northwest side next to Irving Park. Portage Park was an all white neighborhood that had never had gang problems and the Gaylords were geared at keeping the neighborhood this way so they opened turf out in front of Reinberg Elementary School at 3425 N Major Ave which is at the intersection of Major and Roscoe. By 1972 the Gaylords opened new turf in the Ravenswood part of the Lincoln Square neighborhood at Seeley and Ainslie in Winnemac Park. This set was a result of a gang called the Maniac Drifters fading out in the area and younger members were still looking to stay active in a gang so they joined forces with the Palmer Gaylords and became the Winnemac Park Gaylords. Soon after in 1972, the Seeley and Ainslie Gaylords opened up the Seeley and Eastwood Gaylords that were located right in front of the fire house station at 2100 West Eastwood (closed down). These Gaylords became known as the “Firehouse Gaylords.”
In 1973 the WPO was not as official anymore, mainly because the Gaylords got together with some of the most notorious gangs of the WPO like Chi West, Taylor Jousters, C-Notes, and PVP (or PVRs) at a meeting that was guarded with Chi West gang members with crossbows at North Ave and Damen in Wicker Park hosted by Chi West, this meeting was to discuss the creation of the UFO unity (United Five Organization) which was put together by these five clubs that were going to team up against the various Latino gangs. This unity brought about an incredible friendship between these five gangs that would bring about some of the closest brotherhoods over the next decade and would help each of these organizations expand much larger. These gangs would rove together many times in packs of 100+ members and go out looking for their common enemies and smash them. They wore white arm bands to show they were UFO.
By 1974, Albany Park was becoming a very rough neighborhood as well as the neighboring communities. Run down buildings, drug addicts and prostitutes were now the scene in this destitute area. The area become well known for its vacant buildings which attracted drug addicts to hide in them. Once again another neighborhood was changing and white flight was for the privileged that had the money to do so, while the impoverished white youths and various Latinos and blacks that had lived their whole lives there had to watch their neighborhood change and outside gangs like the Latin Kings came to invade, this is when the Gaylords came to recruit the hard trodden youths of Albany Park to their club. The first faction set up in Albany Park was Wilson and Hamlin outside the Haugan Elementary School at 4540 N Hamlin Ave then eventually a faction opened at Elston and Kolmar.
The WPO alliance was officially ended in 1975 after three murders shook up the Gaylords, Simon City Royals and Insane Popes. It all started in April of 1975 when Latin Kings murdered the leader of the Simon City Royals “Bimbo” who kept WPO and Royal/Gaylord relations real tight and kept both gangs from going to war, as soon as Bimbo was taken out, the Royals advanced on Kilbourn Park and led a Gaylord named “Wizard” out back by the tracks and shot him execution style, this started a major war between Royals and Gaylords in 1975. The Gaylords gunned down the leader of the Insane Popes, Larry “Larkin” Morris in April of 1975 that brought them to war with the Popes as well, now the WPO was finished and the scene of seeing all Stone Greasers hanging out together at Lenny’s restaurant (4 Buddies Restaurant) as C-Notes, Gaylords, PVP/PVR, Bel Airs, Insane Popes, Chi West and Simon City Royals used to all hang at this diner together between 1971 and 1975, now that was over with.
As the 1970s progressed the Gaylords would open more territory and expand their numbers into the thousands in membership while they boasted that they were slowing down Puerto Rican migration. New sets popped up in the Avondale neighborhood at Troy and George by the PGL then spread to Central Park and Barry and Cleveland School at Byron and Troy over in the Irving Park neighborhood. The Gaylords then made it to the North Center neighborhood at Berteua and Leavitt, Column and Campbell and Berteau and Milwaukee which is what set off a fire cracker of a gang war between Gaylords and Insane Deuces.
In 1976 Gaylords opened up at St. Louis and Altgeld in the Logan Square neighborhood which became a legendary but short lived faction.
In the late 1970s the Gaylords were opening up more territory westward in the northern part of the Austin neighborhood at North Ave and Lamon and Nagle and North Ave in the Galewood section of Austin. It was in the summer of 1979 when the legendary Sayre Park Gaylords opened around Belden and Oak Park Ave. African American migration was rapidly increasing in southern and central Austin and north and east of these Gaylords Puerto Rican migration was advancing; therefore, the Gaylords needed to open up territory in the northern part of Austin in order to keep it out of that part of the neighborhood.
In the late 1970s the Hermosa neighborhood started to change rather quickly as Latino migration was coming here in very large and quick numbers. Hermosa started getting slow migration of Latinos as early as the late 1960s but whites remained as the majority. The first major white gang here that fought off foreign made gangs were the Young Freaks of 1967, that had been fighting against Spanish Cobras and Imperial Gangsters since at least 1971.
By the later 1970s Imperial Gangsters and Spanish Cobras began fighting with the Freaks for Kelvyn Park but the Freaks could use a helping hand especially since the Cobras and IGs were teaming up against them now that they were both Folks. The Latin Kings were friends with the Freaks but also fed the Freaks drugs and did not back them up that much. It was now time for the Gaylords to lend more of a helping hand to the Freaks and invite them into the UFO in 1975 and the GFN (Gaylord Freak Nation) alliance was established.
By 1979, the Gaylords had so much momentum it is safe to say they were at their peak and in their prime by 1979. Data was released showing that the Gaylords were the 4th largest gang in Chicago and had about 6,000+ members. The Gaylords were the largest white gang in Chicago and the second largest among Latino and white gangs right behind the Latin Kings.
The Gaylords refused to join the Folk or People alliances and hated gangs on both sides. The Latin Kings were one of their top two arch enemies along with the Simon City Royals. The Latin Kings had joined the People Nation while the Royals had joined Folks. The Gaylords had the UFO to back them up and did not need either of the alliances at least that was the case until the year 1981 when several high ranking Gaylords found themselves outnumbered in prison.
The UFO was not very strong in the joint; therefore, the Gaylords and the Insane Deuces felt it was time to choose an alliance. They went with the lessor of the evils which was the People Nation because they had way more enemies on the Folks side. Think about it, Gaylords were enemies with Imperial Gangsters, Spanish Cobras, Orquestra Albany, Latin Eagles, Simon City Royals, Almighty Insane Popes and on the south side the Satan Disciples who were all Folks. The People Nation gangs were not as much of an enemy. The Spanish Lords would dwell mainly in Bucktown and the Gaylords only had one set there. The Insane Unknowns were concentrated mainly in Wicker Park and West Humboldt Park which the Gaylords had no turf there anymore since the late 70s so they really were not beefing too much with these People Nation gangs except the Latin Kings who happened to be their worst enemy, and now that the Sherman Park faction had closed down as of 1976 they were no longer fighting with the EL Rukns (were known as Black P Stones when they used to fight them). The Gaylord’s entry into the People Nation alliance was not known very much on the streets all that was known was suddenly in the early 1980s the Gaylords were no longer ordered to target Latin Kings as much which allowed the war to simmer down significantly. The only factions that were still red hot on a war path with Latin Kings were the Lincoln Square Gaylords off Seeley street that were forever angry about the murder of the their beloved leader “Honkey” that was killed a few years prior.
1982 would mark a heartbreaking year for the UFO alliance and the solid relationship between Gaylords and C-Notes. This is right at the same time that the Gaylords started expanding their territory in the Portage Park neighborhood at Central and Berteau, Leland and Melvina, Irving Park and Narragansett (Merrimac Park), Irving Park and Central Park and Narragansett and Montrose (Dunham Park). Suddenly vicious bloody fights were happening at the Axle Roller Skating Rink at 4510 North Harlem Ave (closed down Halloween 1985) which was located in the suburb of Norridge. The fights were so nasty and bloody between C-Notes and Gaylords that the UFO had no hope of survival and eventually the Gaylords even opened turf at Grand and Harlem in the Montclaire neighborhood and slugged it out with Notes over there too. Grand and Rockwell (Smith Park in southern West Town area) was another sight of Gaylords and C-Notes slugging it out. The C-Notes loved Smith Park and wanted it as their own but the Rockwell and Grand Gaylords were the only thing in the way. There were also fights with C-Notes once the Gaylords opened at Addison and Cumberland in the Dunning neighborhood. The Gaylords and C-Notes both wanted to control “White Wonderland” which was the areas of Portage Park and Dunning which consisted of all white middle class neighborhoods, the gang fighting would soon draw attention from law enforcement.
By 1983, the St. Louis and Altgeld chapter dissolved which was a significant chapter of the Gaylords at that time. Another major event was the official announcement to all Gaylords that they are a part of the People Nation alliance. 1983 was the year that all gangs on the streets were to now represent the Folk or People alliance this of course meant many gang members had to be educated about the five and six point stars. It was the big talk on the streets about who was on the roster, and when the Gaylords found out they were on the People Nation roster the vast majority were not happy to be shaking hands with Latin Kings and Insane Deuces. The Gaylords mostly complied with the alliance qualifications except for the Lincoln Square Gaylords, they would never shake hands with Latin Kings ever, and refused to honor the People Nation star, in fact, young Gaylords at Seeley and Eastwood were punished for tagging with People Nation tags which got their set closed for good in 1985 by older Seeley and Ainslie Gaylords. It was a hard thing to digest for about 80% or more of Gaylords while in some other areas younger Gaylords were hanging out with Latin Kings, Vice Lords and Insane Deuces.
The mid 1980s showed an opening of new sets for the Gaylords even though the overall number of Gaylords were starting to decrease. In 1984 the sets of Long and Oakdale, Riis Park, Beldon and Knox (branched out from Sayre Park Gaylords), Lockwood and Oakdale and Altgeld and Cicero Ave (St. Genevieve Catholic School) opened up in the Belmont – Cragin neighborhood. There was now a growing need for Gaylords because the Latino invasion was in full swing in this neighborhood. This neighborhood was being taken over by Mexican families. The white families that could afford to leave moved out into the suburbs, but the families that could not afford it were stuck in Belmont – Cragin and that is when a nasty gang war ensued between white gangs and Mexican gangs unless of course they shared a star. Gaylords found their allies in this neighborhood to be Latin Brothers, Latin Kings and Latin Pachucos.
By 1985 the Gaylord’s recruitment was slowing and some members were flipping to other gangs because organizations like the Black Gangsters Disciples and Vice Lords opened their doors wide open to letting in kids of other races. Vice Lords and BGDs were the biggest gangs in the city so white and Latino kids were thrilled to have a chance to be a part of these enormous empires. Not only that Latino gangs that had always taken in white kids now were taking in more than they ever did before and actively seeking them out for membership, gangs like Latin Disciples, Latin Kings, Imperial Gangsters, Satan Disciples, Two Sixs and many more actively sought white members of their gangs. Many white youths saw a future with these organizations because they were growing at incredible rates and members could make money in the drug trade. Joining the Gaylords was starting to become out of style for the poor white youths stuck in the slums and rough neighborhoods.
By 1986 the very last new sets opened up for the Gaylords at Montana and Kilbourn and Diversey and Kilbourn in the Hermosa neighborhood and Newport and Karlove (Newport Gaylords) opened in the Irving Park neighborhood that were an offshoot of the Kilbourn Park Gaylords. The Newport Gaylords would eventually open in the suburb of Addison, IL. The mid 1980s saw the extinction of the South and central Austin Gaylords due to the fact that the area had become over 80% African American by then and 90% by 1990; therefore, the Austin sets of Ohio and Leclaire and Leamington and Jackson were evacuated. Pretty much all white residents moved out of this area along with 100% of white gangs.
In the late 1980s the Gaylords did not grow any further in the city instead their numbers at each set were starting to decline making it easier for other gangs to take over but mainly the Gaylords were killing themselves with drug addiction, key incarcerations, flipping to other gangs (especially Latin Kings), and moving to the suburbs and/or retiring from gang life. As youngsters, the Gaylords could not afford to leave their neighborhoods because their families were poor but now that many were starting to grow older by the late 1980s they started moving their families out of the neighborhood into the suburbs. The new struggle for Gaylords left behind was not to grow larger but to instead simply keep what they still had.
The early 1990s brought in more plight for the existence of the Gaylords. In the year 1990 the Gaylords decided to shut down a number of their sets such as these Logan Square sets: Lawndale and Altgeld, Palmer and California, Moffat and Campbell, Ridgeway and Fullerton, Diversey and Rockwell, Palmer and Sacramento, Avers and Altgeld and Leavitt and Lyndale. Their whole entire PGL operation was completely shut down in 1990, Logan Square had become 66% Latino and most of the white youths were interested in joining Latino gangs, it was time to call it quits and move out, the PGL was no more.
The Hermosa neighborhood had now become 70% Latino by 1990 and was still changing as the Spanish Cobras and Imperial Gangsters had taken over Kelvyn Park and several sets. Maniac Latin Disciples and Latin Kings also had a major foothold in this neighborhood and the white gangs were just too outnumbered, it was now time for the Gaylords and Freaks to evacuate the area. Montana and Kilbourn and Diversey and Kilbourn were now closed in this 1990 plan for closures. Around that time Kildare and Fullerton, Kolmar and George, Tripp and Armitage and Belden and Kenneth would all call it quits as well. Many Belmont-Cragin sets were folding as part of the 1990 plan as well along with Grand and Harlem and the Dunham park faction were a part of this plan.
If some sets were not a part of the big 1990 closures they soon closed up within the next few years in the first half of the 1990s decade. Drug addiction, incarceration and retirement were wiping out set after set of Gaylords all around the city. Allies were also a threat to the Gaylords as Latin Kings and Black P Stones were selling drugs within Gaylord hoods causing both addicted Gaylords and also Gaylords that were starting to sell the dope and landing themselves behind bars. A prime example was in 1991 when the Black P Stones offered complete peace with the Sunnyside and Magnolia Gaylords as long as they could shoot hoops and sell dope on that corner, the Gaylords ended up going down over this with incarcerations from hooking into Black P Stone drug trades. In 1996 “Geronimo” was shot and killed by a 14 year old Black P Stone, soon after the Sunnyside and Magnolia Gaylords faded away.
The mid 1990s brought about the last of the legendary gang wars for the Gaylords that brought about the last major waves of bloodshed the Gaylords would be involved in. A good example was the bloody gang wars the Sayre Park Gaylords fought with the Latin Brothers and Insane Dragons which caused a lot of damage for all three gangs. The Insane Dragons decided it was not worth it and left the area while Latin Brothers and Gaylords stopped warring mainly because they shared the same star of the People alliance not only that the Latin Brothers left the area.
The late 1990s were a quitter time for the Gaylords as they were declining in numbers more and more. In the year 2000 more factions closed up in the Portage Park area such as: Reinberg School, Central Ave and Berteau, Leland and Melvina, Irving Park Rd and Narragansett (Merrimac Park), and Irving Park Rd and Central Ave. Pretty much all other sets closed down by then except for Kilbourn Park and Sayre Park that are said to still have open sets to this day.
Please send in old school pics. 1950s or 1960s pics will be especially appreciated!
What exact year did Gaylords arrive in Humboldt Park and central and southern Austin? What exact years did those sections die out?
What exact year did the Bridgeport section start up and what year did it die out?
What exact year did the Pilsen section start and what year did it die out?
What exact year within the early 1950s did the Gaylords form? It was somewhere between 1950 and 1953 but which exact year?
What happened to Johnny Boy and Bobby Shipball?
What were the time line of leaders, what years did they run the Gaylords?