"In 1970, the older Gaylords of Kilbourn Park gave permission for the younger guys, the midget Gaylords, to organize a separate section at the corners of central & roscoe avenues this was convenient because most of these midget Gaylords that branched off from Kilbourn Park at this time were enrolled at nearby Foreman High School. This new section or branch was selected because there was "a lot of hot broads" in this area, even though most of the original members lived around the Addison & Cicero area. They eventually called themselves the Reinberg Gaylords cause of a nearby grammar school. Around this time, most Gaylord hangouts or sections were disbanding due to the Vietnam War, police pressure and the freak culture that started to take hold throughout the Chicago area. The stone greaser culture was fading away. Young guys who wanted to maintain their white working class values looked towards the black and blue club (Gaylords) as a rallying point.
The RGL's were a small group at first but formed an alliance with another greaser club called the Bel- Airs. They also kept close ties with the Kilbourn Park Gaylords which remained the lead section during the 1970's. In the fall of 1971, a legendry junior Gaylord reorganized the RGL's into different age groups and actively recruited at Foreman and Reinberg schools. As the RGL's grew in numbers they influenced other greasers to start up new sections.
The rowdy greaser was making a comeback and that caused some friction with the neighborhood freaks ( hippie culture). However, talking things out and smoking a peace bong settled most disputes. The Gaylords really had no interests in fighting with people from the neighborhood if they didn't have to.
Employees at the YMCA Youth Outreach Center allowed the Gaylords to use that facility as a club house. All club members were welcomed and on any given Friday night the corner of Addison Street & Lamon Avenue was ruled by bad a_s boys wearing club sweaters and baggy work pants. The YMCA also made a deal with the Six Corners Chamber of Commerce which allowed the RGL's to clean the sidewalks every Saturday morning. The boys used the money to buy beer, pot and club sweaters. This arrangement only lasted a few months cause most of the guys were too hungover from the night before to work.
Besides the club house and school yard, the RGL's could be found at Manor Bowl (local bowling alley),and a small fast food restaurant called the "Beef Hut", which was located across the street from Foreman High School.
Along Belmont Avenue, from Central to Cicero Avenue, was Reinberg Gaylords' turf. Also, the factories and the sand yard near Schurz High School, were also favorite hangouts. There was never any problems between Kilbourn Park and Reinberg hanging out in each others turf. The RGLs had the up most respect for Kilbourn Park and besides Kilbourn Park always backed up other sections.
The heart and soul of the Reinberg a Gaylords was a small close knit inner circle of youths, more like a family then a street gang. This was due in part because most members were of Italian and or Irish descent living in a Polish/German neighborhood.
In the 1970's, the Cragin area(Portage Park and Belmont) were safe white communities and the RGL's planned on keeping it that way. The Belmont & Cicero intersection was the scene of many racial conflicts between the Gaylords and blacks youths, or Puerto Ricans youths that came into the neighborhood. Most worked in the nearby factories or traveled on cta buses. Some were looking to rob or steal. In many cases the so called minorities showed contempt towards people living in the community.
Someone may have trouble understanding such racial intolerance today but the demography of the city was changing which created white flight. Government affirmative action laws produced generations of minorities that believed they are entitled to more than they are willing to work for. Young blacks and latinos had contempt for anything that belonged to "the man". Even thirty years ago the news media made a point to under report hate crimes committed against whites. Yes the police were over aggressive when handling these crimes but there were few politicians who had the balls to address this problem publicly.
The year 1972 saw an increase in gang activity. Some old turf clubs started to make a big comeback while others died out. New organizations started challenging the old guard. White club members at Lane Tech High School. Were forging alliances to combat the surge in Latinstreet gangs. For example, racial violence at Steinmetz High School forced greasers and Freaks to back each other up against black gangs.
The Gaylords and Taylor Street Jousters, formed an alliance that led to the United Five Organization (UFO). There also was a combined section of RGL's and Jousters at North & Lamon Avenue.
Through the fall of 1972, the UFO was at a constant state of war with the LatinKings, project Deuces and Imperial Gangsters. The latter gang was rapidly growing around the Logan Square area. Ufo members from Foreman would clash with the IG's at kelvyn Park High School.
Had the UFO worked completely out, it would have given it's members a power base big enough to hold on to some neighborhoods. Unfortunately there was too much competition and distrust between the different groups involved. In later years this led to gang wars that claimed the lives of many dedicated bros.
The Gaylord nation had grown to the point that it became the dominant white club in the city and most hated. This led to brawls and humbugs all over the north side and some surrounding suburbs.
At first, the people living around the Reinberg school area were intimidated by the large number of rowdy greasers raising hell at the school yard. When the graffiti got out of hand, that's when the police got involved. The neighborhood is filled with Chicago style bungalows and newer ranch homes. For the home owners the RGL's had to go. At first the police put a curfew on the school, then started harassing people all the time. Because of this, the RGL's relocated to a small Park at newport & linder avenue. The Freaks that partied at "Chopin Park" were not too happy with their new neighbors, but there wasn't much they could do.
During the winter months a favorite form of recreation was called burning cashmeres. Puerto Rican and black gang bangers would style large afros and double breasted overcoats, and Gaylords would try and take them. The most sought after coat was made of cashmere wool. The object was to take the coat by force as a trophy. Sometimes you got the prize ,sometimes you got bullets zipping past your head.
On thursday, December 26th 1972, after a night of burning cashmeres from rivals, RGL club members were sitting at a fast food restaurant on central ave. When a greaser walked in and fired a blank gun at someone's head. People started laughing thinking it was a Gaylord from another section the dude also let out a laugh while he shot the cap gun and then quickly left, like a prank between friends. A short time later two younger guys decided to walk home while the other stayed behind. The two were walking down barry avenue. When they were ambushed by a group of greasers. One of the guys who was walking, was a fourteen year old by the name harpo. Sadly, he died of multiple stab wounds. Those that took his life were a bunch of nobodies trying to make a name for themselves the easy way. If they had real balls, then they should have started jamming in the restaurant.
After the killing, the RGL's didn't know who was responsible for the stabbing or what neighborhood they came from. Gang crime units raided the RGL's club house and police harassed Gaylords daily wherever they were found. This didn't stop the club members from looking for these chumps that stabbed Harpo to death..
In anger and while blindly lashing out, groups of young guys who weren't from the area would be attacked by the Gaylords. Unfortunately some innocent people got stomped on. The police arrested several RGL's because of these tactics, and they then were off the streets for a while.
As far as the stabbing of Harpo, the Chicago Police captured those punks before the Gaylords had a chance to administer their own personal justice. Harpo's assailants turned out to be a small group of mopes calling themselves "k-town Lords." after the main killer went to prison for the stabbing, the rest of the k-town lords stayed underground and faded away.
Harpo's death caused the Reinberg boys to act more aggressive towards outsiders. Because of this. The Chicago police forced the club members away from Belmont and central area. This included manor bowl. As a matter of fact , a section of Gaylords made up of former Manor Bowl boys disbanded due to police pressure. Some joined Reinberg, others started the Blackhawk Park Gaylords. The rest just moved on with life.
The Reinberg Gaylords had no interest in disbanding, in fact this small section became stronger. The club now operated out of the Beef Hut and of a club house on Addison Street. The boys would meet at these locations ,then party at an associate's house or cruise different parts of the city to raid pillage or plunder. The police tried to bust-up both the Kilbourn Park and rein berg Gaylords. Gang crimes started patrolling foreman more often along with regular squad cars and even a school cop known as Fascist Freddy was on the prowl. Some club members would even find gang dicks at their homes when they got there. By the summer of 1973 "you couldn't spit without hitting a pig". In truth the RGL's did respect the cops, but they were "a constant source of aggravation".
The RGL's finally settled down at Chopin Park. There was no club sweaters or graffiti, just parties. The police eventually mellowed out somewhat. The Park also became a safe place for some palmer street and Kilbourn Park Gaylords to hangout, like a little country club.
For recreation, the Reinberg Gaylords formed a soft ball team that was sponsored by the YMCA. Life was too mellow at Chopin Park for some people. Some guys even went and joined other sections out of boredom. However, that all would change one night.
Saint Stan's Church was located next to Hanson Field . It was a Polish Parish that held a carnival every august before labor day . This was a very popular event that attracted people from the west and northwest side of the city. Old turf clubs from the Chicago and. Pulaski area would attend in large numbers. Some of these clubs were the Chicago Avenue Jokers, Lazy Gents and Harding Drakers. Their neighborhood once was a close knit Italian community but by 1973 black and puerto ricans gangs were changing the landscape for the worst.
What started out as a minor incident between a Reinberg boy and a Draker turned into the biggest riot the Belmont Cragin area has experienced since Martin Luther King marched down Central Avenue, in the 1960s.
During this altercation a small group of Gaylords and Jousters were surrounded by a much larger group of west side boys. The ratio was about four to one and the G/J had their backs against the wall big time. Every G/J went down fighting taking as many opponents down as they could.
Just as the first humbug ended another group of G/J arrived and went right to work. Still out numbered they did enough damage to allow the first group to get their act together. By this time fights broke out all over the carnival and surrounding area between groups of guys who had nothing to do with either side. The place turned into one giant punching contest. When the police arrived the G/J split before they were arrested.
One hapless RGL made it back to Reinberg school yard and told three other guys what happened, all four went back to the carnival and then walked up to a large group of senior jokers and c-notes and started throwing punches. The Chicago police joined in using their billy clubs with great effect. Two of the RGL's were arrested, the other two got away. The cops were the clear winners. The next evening the Gaylord nation met at Chopin Park just in case the west side clubs wanted to settle up, that never happened. Because of all this, the Gaylord nation once again was the: most hated organization in the city. It would take several years before there was another carnival after the saint stan's riot and through 1974 the boys kept busy raising hell in their turf and fighting with the albany Park white Latin Kings. Raids against the imperial gangsters was always a source of entertainment. By 1975 the RGL's were becoming more like an old turf club, stay in your own neighborhood and take care of your own problems. They left other people alone but if some group started some crap, then the RGL's finished it quickly.
As time went by, people who hated the RGLs originally started to show a different type of respect towards them. In fact even many Freaks preferred to hang with the RGL's and turned out to be good back up. Some of these boys even had a decent garage band. A few associates turned into life long friends with some RGL's, this is interesting when you take into account back in 1972, most people didn't want anything to do with the g thang.
The Reinberg Gaylords disbanded in 1976. It was time to move on. Most members were working full time jobs, trying to get their share of the american dream. There were more associates than club members by this time. Some guys moved to other sections, some were in prisons and a few helped organized the leclaire & george street boys. Most tried to stay out of trouble. Even though they were inactive,the boys still found themselves in some good street fights and bar room brawls.
What was left of this old section would still meet at the bleachers in Chopin Park until 1981. However, the economic recession of the 1980's forced the boys to spend more time looking for new careers than hanging out. This caused many of them to move out of the city and start raising their own families.
The RGLs band of stone greasers was a small section that numbered thirty members at it's peak but most often it was about ten to fifteen compared to the larger sections back then. . At the time there were not any other groups or gangs in the area to challenge them. Only once did they have to use fire power to defend their turf.
Sometimes, guys would go in to Latin neighborhoods and cap at the sp_cs but most preferred jamming to burning. By the end of the decade the other Gaylord sections had to use more fire power to survive. This bummed out many of the older guys. It was disappointing to see the next upcoming generation of Gaylords having to go to more violent extremes then then Reinberg did. But the older guys understood the situation. T hey also knew that when you lose one of your boys defending a piece of real estate that nobody gives a f_ck about you. When this happens you also loose a piece of your heart. 'We learned the hard way that we we're fighting an un winnable war'."