November 1, 2007

Chicago Lords of Uptown

While surfing the Net one night, I found this site: Chicago Lords of Uptown.

It provides a brief history of the Sunnyside and Magnolia Set of the Almighty Gaylords, a Chicago street gang with roots stretching back to the late forties/early fifties.

Since living in the neighborhood, I've found that people love to talk about and somewhat glamorize the early gang history of Uptown, the "Al Capone was here" kind of stories, or else they will have a lot to say about Uptown's current gang problems. Very few talk about the times in between, and the groups that, for good or ill, made their mark on the neighborhood.

The Chicago Lords of Uptown were prominent from the seventies through the late nineties. From the site:

"Uptown was a battle zone! Today, Chicago's Uptown community is more known for its jazz clubs and coffee houses than its gang wars. This area is one example of how the City of Chicago is eliminating its ghettos—almost overnight. The cleanup effort is good for the city, but the blood lost here battling for these blocks should not be forgotten."

To learn more about the history of Chicago's street gangs, visit the UIC Chicago Gang History Project.


Anonymous said...

Nice blog page! You should come into the Gaylord's message board and talk to some Sunnyside and Magnolia Gaylords from Uptown.

With respect,

Joanne said...

Thanks for the invite. I'd love to hear more about what Uptown was like back in the day.

Anonymous said...

those guys (my true family whom i have known since i was born) are amazing to me. its so sad how many are now gone.

RIP to all

Lil Mick said...

during the 40;s and 50;s Uptown was a german and polish community; a strong and good white community. It was the 60;s and 70;s that the poor southern appalacian influx began.It was then you saw your strong gang presance and poverty and drugs which go han d in hand with poverty stricken hoods for some reason.I think it reliefs the stress of being poor; such as alcohol does too.Sad but true!And now in your new millenium you see nothing but condos and much higher rent to push the prblem of dealing with poor and down trodden somewere else; perhaps north Rogers Park I;ve heard. Round and round it goes.I;ve been a part of it I know.Poor that is!I blame myself though because I choose the street in stead of getting educated.Street wise yes but that can take you only so far. Later Lil Mick A\P;s.

BOBKAT65 said...


Joanne said...

Thanks for stopping by, everyone! If you have pictures of what Uptown was like back then, e-mail me at blog(a)

Admin_2 said...

Uptown video from the 1970's through the 90's:

Admin_2 said...

The Gaylords history pages are being updated with new Uptown Gaylords history: Uptown History

Joanne said...

Thanks for the head's up, Admin_2.

Those of you who are interested in Uptown's gang history should definitely check out this site. Be warned, many of you will find the first-hand accounts disturbing.

The last time I posted about Uptown's gangs, I received a number of snarky e-mails critizing me for inappropriate content. While we at Uptown Chicago History do not wish to advocate, condone, or promote the gang lifestyle, we do strongly believe in building as accurate a picture as possible of what life in Uptown was like for all residents.

There is a disclaimer on the Gaylords' site: "All of the Information on this website is for educational purposes only. It is in no way meant to encourage the gang lifestyle or solicit membership."

Also: "Please be advised that this site is not a gang authorized or endorsed venue. Basically, this is just a sociological study, where one certain gang is being analyzed. The reasoning for this is to hopefully give society a better understanding of the gang lifestyle, by doing an in-depth study on one individual gang. This particular gang was once extremely active on the streets of Chicago, no longer street-active anymore.

"We believe what makes this particular gang research site interesting, is that the actual gang that is being studied was predominately white; a rarity since the later half of the 2Oth Century. Another interesting feature is that many retired members of this gang have graciously contributed their own perspectives in the form of text and images that you will find within this site. Fundamentally, it is all just a retrospect of a lifestyle once lived."

They do host a blog where you can leave comments.

Admin_2 said...

I just received a new photo showing what Sunnyside and Magnolia looked like back in the 80s: . It is the first photo under the video clip. As you can see the apartment buildings with broken and boarded up windows.

Unknown said...

hey what up yeah I used to live on Magnolia Sunnyside Magnolia Lakeland remember my brother law for the Gaylord we had a lot of friends Gaylord I didn't know they were still gay bars around just I love you be cool

Unknown said...

A GLN lives on KP NP SM 712


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