K-Town

Origins
Area West Side
Boundaries

Bloomingdale Road on the North, 33rd Street on the south, Pulaski Road on the east, Cicero Avenue on the west (excluding south of 5th Avenue from Cicero Ave to Kilbourn which is part of the suburb of Cicero)

Gangs founded Latin Pachucos,
Gangs headquartered Black Souls, Four Corner Hustlers, Vice Lords, Two Six, Insane Unknowns, New Breeds, Gangster Disciples,

In the official books it says K-Town is only in the streets of North Lawndale and West Garfield Park, however, you can’t just say that on the streets because many people, especially the guys that have been gang banging for years can tell you K-Town’s borders are wider.  K-Town is indeed West Garfield Park and North Lawndale but it also extends north of West Garfield Park all the way through West Humboldt Park.  The borders also extend south beyond North Lawndale into South Lawndale into the Little Village community all the way to the end of those borders.  K-Town’s main feature is it is the western half of North Lawndale, West Garfield Park, Little Village and West Humboldt Park.

Let’s delve a little into the history of K-Town for a general understanding about how this area came to be.

In the year 1889 when Chicago was going through mass annexations, John D. Riley, Superintendent of the city’s Bureau of Maps developed a plan for each mile west of the Indiana – Illinois border to be assigned street names starting with a successive letter of the alphabet.  The streets started with letter “A” then went down the alphabet the further west from that border.  This plan was rejected for the more eastern part of the city, but some of the western part of the city it was approved.  Pulaski Road marks the 11th mile away from that Indiana/Illinois border, therefore, it received the 11th letter of the alphabet assigned to the beginning of the street names for a one mile stretch and K-Town was born in 1913.

The streets in K-Town moving north to south in these four neighborhoods are: Kilpatrick, Kenton, Kenneth, Kolmar, Kilbourn, Kostner, Kirkland, Kolin, Kildare, Keeler, (Tripp in between Keeler and Kildare), Kedvale, Karlov, Keystone and Komensky.  The north to south streets are the reason for name of this area of the city, Kamerling and Kinzie move east to west so they are not a big part of the reason for the naming of the area.

Bringing up the name K-Town shoots fear into the hearts of many because these streets have had a bad reputation for being violent and dangerous.  Well, I won’t sugar coat anything, the legends are pretty much true, K-Town is a very wild part of the city with very high crime.  In the main part of K-Town in North Lawndale and West Garfield Park there are vacant lots and dilapidated buildings to go with the high crime.  K-Town is rough because it is in the midst of four disadvantaged neighborhoods that have all been stricken with high poverty and crime for several decades.

As far as I know, gangs came to K-Town in the early 1950s as white greaser gangs were among the first.  In West Garfield Park there were a few greaser gangs but I think most of them were east in the neighborhood.  In the mid 1950s the Egyptian Cobras settled in the area of 14th and Kedvale outside of William Cullen Bryant Elementary School in the North Lawndale area.  The Cobras were the first black gang to settle in K-Town.

In the early 1960s, black migration came to the West Garfield Park neighborhood as greaser gangs began to fade away.  Various smaller black gangs began to form in this part of K-Town as white people were leaving the area.

In the North Lawndale section of K-Town in the early 1960s, the Egyptian Cobras now dominated this area and successfully kept Vice Lords from settling west of Pulaski Road.

In the West Humboldt Park section of K-Town Puerto Rican and black families were moving the area in large numbers.  White greaser gangs roved the area and harassed groups of blacks and Puerto Ricans which led to Puerto Rican and black youths fighting back.

In the mid-1960s, Vice Lords and Egyptian Cobras established a truce and this allowed Vice Lords to move west of Pulaski and this meant Vice Lords quickly advanced into the West Garfield Park section of K-Town where they would quickly dominate.  The Black Souls had also begun settled in this area and some other black gangs were getting big like the J-Five and the Black Pimps.

In the late 1960s, the Supreme Gangsters settled in West Garfield Park K-Town area and quickly developed a large following as they flipped many J-Fives and Black Pimps.  The Supreme Gangsters soon became the biggest deal in K-Town and were even hanging around on the border into West Humboldt Park.

By the later 1960s Ridgeway Lords were growing in the Little Village area and were now settling in the K-Town area.

In the early 1970s Supreme Gangsters had now fully invaded K-Town in West Humboldt Park as Unknown Vice Lords and Black Souls were also moving into the area bringing about a gang war between black gangs as white greaser gangs were moving out.

In the mid-1970s, Two Six moved into the K-Town area of Little Village and developed a major war with Ridgeway Lords, this was the birth of K-Town Two Six and Darkside Two Six.  In the K-Town area of West Humboldt Park Vice Lords, Supreme Gangsters and Black Souls kept fighting for this area but Hispanic gangs like Latin Kings became very interested and had the larger numbers.  In the year 1976, the Insane Unknowns settled in this part of K-Town and became a major force on these streets.

In the late 1970s, Latin Kings and Insane Unknowns seemed to have the power shift in the West Humboldt Park section while Unknown Vice Lords and Black Souls still had a presence.

By the late 1970s, Two Six factions had the upper hand in this area as the viciously fought the Ridgeway Lords for domination.

In the early 1980s, Two Sixs began to overcome the Ridgeway Lords as their numbers began to shrink, however, the Ridgeway Lords allied with Two Six and joined the Folk alliance.

In West Humboldt Park area of K-Town the Latin Kings and Insane Unknowns still were very powerful but Unknown Vice Lords and Black Souls were showing their might.

West Humboldt Park K-Town continued to be fought over through the 1980s and 1990s as the Latin Pachucos came up on these streets in the mid-1980s and by the 90s Unknown Vice Lords and Black Souls grew very large.  At some point the Black Gangsters/New Breeds settled the area and took a good chunk of the area.

All of K-Town in all four neighborhoods has been an intense war zone through the decades.  eventually the drug gang became massive causing many gang wars in the 1980s and 1990s giving K-Town a reputation for being a very dangerous part of Chicago.  The Two Sixs have ruled the Little Village part since the late 1980s as Ridgeway Lords faded.  Vice Lords have ruled the North Lawndale K-Town area since Egyptian Cobras left in the late 1970s.  The West Garfield Park K-Town area is ruled by the Gangster Disciples and Vice Lords since the 1970s.  The West Humboldt Park K-Town area still has strong Insane Unknowns and Latin Kings but this area became majority black by the 1990s allowing Unknown Vice Lords, Black Souls and New Breeds to run most of it.