Chicago Gaylords

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Almighty Gaylords
Founding locationChicago, Illinois
Years active1940s - present
TerritoryChicago, Kentucky, Indiana, Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Wisconsin and Flint Michigan
EthnicityEuropean Americans with some Native Americans
AlliesPeople Nation
RivalsFolk Nation

The Chicago Gaylords, also known as the Almighty Gaylords, is a Chicago street gang which was most active during the mid and late 20th century. It originated in the neighborhood of Grand and Noble; the original president of the Gaylords selected the name after reading about the Gaylords in the public library (the Gaillards, later anglicized to Gaylord, were people from Normandy who lived near the Château Gaillard, constructed by Richard I).[1] They were a part of the People Nation alliance.[2]

Origins and history[edit]

The Chicago Gaylords, one of Chicago's oldest street gangs,[3] was a club founded by World War II veterans and the majority of the original members were Italian, Irish, and Greek Americans; this ethnic makeup reflected the population of the Grand and Ogden area at the time, that was known as one of Chicago's "Little Italies." There were many such clubs in Chicago during the post World War II era, and had their own clubhouses and baseball teams. The Gaylords' clubhouse was on the corner of Ohio and Noble Street. At the height of the Gaylords reign in 1979, they were listed as the fourth most powerful gang in Chicago and were noted as "Chicago's largest white street gang...considered a violent, bigoted outfit."[4] In 1970, they were suspected for being involved in the murder of a black Chicago citizen named Joe Henson, but no charges were brought: a later feature article in the Chicago Reader alleged police and political coverup.[5]

During their peak period, the Chicago Gaylords held sets (or sections) on the North Side, West side and the South Side of Chicago; the West side sections included Ohio and Noble, Ohio and Leclaire and Monticelllo and Augusta. Their South Side sections included Back of the Yards and West Englewood (around 55th & Ashland, Sherman Park), Pilsen (18th & Western), and Bridgeport (Throop Street), their North Side presence included Belmont Cragin, Manor Bowl, Reinberg School, Chopin Park, Blackhawk Park, St Gens., Humboldt Park (Moffat & Campbell); Logan Square (Palmer & California, Lawndale & Altgeld); Irving Park (Albany & Byron); Kilbourn Park (Roscoe & Kilbourn); Kelvyn Park (Kilbourn & Wrightwood); Dunham Park (Montrose & Narragansett); Ravenswood (Seeley & Ainslie); and Uptown (Sunnyside & Magnolia, Lawrence & Broadway). Two of the most powerful Gaylord sections existed in Logan Square: Lawndale and Altgeld (L-A section) and Palmer and California (Palmer Street).[4]

In 2011, police and federal agents arrested 9 members of suburban Gaylords factions on charges of drug dealing, gun trafficking and violent intimidation.[6]

Gang structure[edit]

Divisions Within Sets Age Group
Slylords/Palmer Puds Under 13
Midget 13 to 15
PeeWees 16 to 18
Juniors 18 to 20
Seniors 21 and older

Gang colors[edit]

The sets, or sections, started by Kilbourn Park wore black and light blue. Sections started by Palmer street wore black and gray. South Side sections started by the 18th and Western section like 55th and Ashland and Sherman Park wore black and brown.


  1. ^ Scott, Michael (September 4, 2004). Lords of Lawndale: My Life in a Chicago White Street Gang. AuthorHouse. ISBN 1418482196.
  2. ^ Florida Department of Corrections. "Street Gangs — Chicago Based or Influenced: People Nation and Folk Nation". State of Florida. Archived from the original on 2008-03-16. Retrieved 2008-03-08.
  3. ^ "The Young Lords and Early Chicago Puerto Rican Gangs". UIC Gang Research Website. University of Illinois. 27 January 2002. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  4. ^ a b Kilian, Michael; Fletcher, Connie; Ciccone, E. Richard (1979). Who Runs Chicago?. St. Martin's Press. p. 165. ISBN 031287023X.
  5. ^ Bogira, Steve (February 29, 2012). "The color of his skin". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  6. ^ Heinzmann, David (August 23, 2011). "18-month gang investigation leads to arrest of 9". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 16 March 2016.

External links[edit]

  • Gaylords Official Website [1]. 'Gaylords history from Post World War II until 1998'