Friday, August 1, 2008

Spanky And Our Gang(s)

Oh, how the times have changed! We were tipped off to a really cool 1926 Gangland map of Chicago. And Uptown was noticeably free of gangs. Looks like most them in the vicinity were located west of Ashland, with a couple around Argyle and Marine, and one at Wilson and Broadway (okay, some things haven't changed that much). Uptown was a "Bright Light Area" (i.e., theatre and entertainment district) and also was Chicago's "Hotel Coast" (makes sense... many of our old buildings were hotels in previous lives).

Seems like there was a little gambling problem located around the back of the Uptown Theatre ... and we're not at all sure we want to know why Wells Park was known as "Pussyfoot Park."

The handwritten notations of various areas of the city ("No Man's Land," "Polack Town," "Bum Park," "Death Corner" and the like) are colorful as well as horrifyingly politically incorrect. If you're interested in Chicago history, as we are, this is a fascinating snapshot of 1926 Chicago.


  1. That's really cool! Thanks, UU!

  2. I dunno about this map. I'm NO historian so correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't prohibition in full swing in 1926? And didn't the illegal booze trade bank roll gangs? Everyone knows that the Green Mill was owned by Machine Gun Jack (Al Capone's right- hand man). There were (and still are, shhhhhh) tunnels which connect gang-owned establishments such as the Aragon and Green Mill? I mean, Uptown could've been a hot bed of gang activity during this time.

  3. P.S. I'm not hatin', cool map! I love this old Chicago stuff...

  4. Big fun, thanks. I'd like to know more about the 'houseboat squatters' across from Riverview. And I always thought that the Gold Coast stretched from North Ave. south to Chgo. Ave., though the map shows it extending from the park north to Addison.

  5. I think there is a similar tunnel under CREW...or maybe that is just a room...and actually I think it's under I've heard...

  6. Kids, pack up the Hotdogs and grab your baseball gloves, we are heading to Pussyfoot Park!

    I wonder if any hanky panky went on there?

  7. there's a modern 'gang map' at

    i'm not sure how they get their information and the latest map is
    about 6 months old, so i don't know
    how accurate it really is.

  8. those of you living along the Sunnyside mall may find this interesting.

    since they interview some former Gaylords it sort seems pro-gang, but
    is informative in any case.

    the gaylords were the main gang in Uptown from the 70s-90s. The got run out by the gansta disciples (who had support from disciples factions in L.A. to facilitate a more nation wide drug trafficking scheme), but since gangs don't get along well that scheme didn't last long and now the P-stones have been trying to angle in.

    one important thing to remember about gangs is that young folks usually join them searching for some sense of family and community.
    If young people can be given viable options and find that sort of camaraderie in other, more constructive, ways then the gangs will die out (literally) on their own.