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, Karlove, 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.

K-Town has had a long history of street gangs starting in the 1950s.  One of the first significant gangs was the Egyptian Cobras (now known as Mickey Cobras) from the Fillmore District in the North Lawndale area.  By the later 1950s, Imperial Chaplains, Vice Lords and various other clubs settled here and all over North Lawndale.  In the 1980s or 1990s Four Corner Hustlers would eventually migrate to this community from West Garfield Park and Black Souls took some territory.

In West Garfield Park, the gangs of North Lawndale spread onto these streets in the mid-1950s as they migrated northward, eventually Vice Lords would end up dominating this area of K-Town until Four Corner Hustlers and Supreme Gangsters (now Gangster Disciples) settled in this area in the year 1967. The Supreme Gangster came here in 1967 and eventually they became a major presence on these streets setting up very complex heroin operations over time.  The Black Souls would also make their way here by the 1970s as they were founded not very far away in West Garfield Park.  In the 1980s New Breeds would eventually colonize this area as well.

In Little Village, Two Six battled for the K-Town section of this community and eventually took it all leaving little to no room for Latin Kings or any other organizations.  Eventually Two Six set up the notorious K-Town Two Six branch that became a hard hitting group of Two Six that even battled against other Two Six branches.

In West Humboldt Park, this neighborhood was a white community  until the 1960s when Puerto Ricans and blacks moved in.  Vice Lords became the dominating force on the west side of this community in the K – Town section while Latin Kings eventually ruled the east side.  In later years Four Corner Hustlers and New Breeds came to settle this K-Town section.  The only Hispanic gang to dominate in the K-Town section became the Insane Unknowns.  The Latin Pachucos were founded in this part of K-Town and lasted here in the 1980s and 1990s until they left the area.  The Insane Unknowns are the only Hispanic gang in the Humboldt Park K-Town area presently.  This is mostly a African American area with Vice Lords, Four Corner Hustlers and New Breeds.