West Town: River West

Origins Settled in 1837 and annexed c. 1837
Area West Side
Boundaries

Division Street on the north, the railroad tracks by Kinzie Avenue on the south, Chicago River on the east, Dan Ryan Expressway on the west.

Gangs founded Milwaukee Kings,

This area is bounded by Division Street on the north, the railroad tracks by Kinzie Avenue on the south, Chicago River on the east, Dan Ryan Expressway on the west.

This area was known about and settled as far back as 1837 due to it being so close to the Chicago River.  The area was immediately annexed into Chicago in 1837 due to the ability to set up industry near the river.  River West became a part of the oldest settled area of all of West Town.

I am not sure what ethnicities settled the area over the years but in 1964 Puerto Ricans had moved into the area and brought the Latin Kings with them that exercised control of Milwaukee Avenue.  In 1964 the “Milwaukee Kings” street gang emerged on this strip along Milwaukee Avenue and a gang war between Latin Kings and Milwaukee Kings ensued.  Eventually Milwaukee Kings left the area in the 1970s and made Logan Square their new stronghold.

Eventually almost all gang activity ceased and this area became attractive for yuppies and higher class businesses.

This neighborhood is still the birthplace of the Milwaukee Kings street gang, even though they no longer claim around here.