This is the tunnel under the railroad tracks in Sayre Park. From the beginning and Throughtout the 1980's, this tunnel has seen lots of GAYLORDS graffiti including some nice murals. It also made a good escape from police.
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The S-P Gaylords started in the late 1970s. The original members included; Buggs, Jaws and Maddog (who were brothers), Chip, Polack, Capone, Spike, and Ape. Spike was originally in a White gang known as, " Rice Boys." But by the late 1970s, many gangs such as the Rice Boys were seemingly fading away. Ape, a high ranking member of the C-Note flipped Sayre Park - GL and became a high ranking member (enforcer) for them. Other gangs that were in the immediate area at the time of the conception of the S-P Gaylords were; Dakin and Neenah Insane Popes, Olcott and Roscoe C-Notes, Grand and Austin Simon City Royals, Canty Schoolyard Popes, Normandy and Belden C-Notes, and Riis Park Gaylords. There was also a group known as the Sayre Park Boys, but the group dissolved, as their members became S-P Gaylords. There were also various Italian gangs like the Icos, Elmwood park boys and Sayre School. Since the beginning, the S-P Gaylords were allied with other White gangs, such as; C-Notes, Jousters and Leclaire and George Boys under a unity known as U.F.O. The main rivals at this time were Insane popes, Latin Kings and Sayre Shool boys. The U.F.O unity with the white gangs started to break apart in the early 980s due to other gangs forming new alliances under the People and Folk unities. However, the Sayre Park Gaylords still remained close allies with the C-Notes, even though this might have angered other Gaylord sets. After a while, the S-P Gaylord's partnership with the C-Notes eventually fell apart and they now found themselves involved in a bitter war. The outcome of this war, had many of the C-notes from nearby Normandy and Beldon switching sides, and now in the membership of the S-P Gaylords. Thereby closing down forever the C-Notes of Normady and Beldon. Around this time, an S-P Gaylord called Tiger was killed by some major outfit guys over a dispute about the proceeds of a bank robbery. Also, pressure from police was becoming so intense that most of the S-P membership decided to start a new section at the corners of Belden and Knox, as a place to get out of their hood for a while. During the mid to late 1980s, Sayre Park fought with the Imperial Gangsters, Insane Popes C-Notes and some spats with the Latin Kings. They also fought with the Simon City Royals of Grand and Austin. However, the Royals, never really amounted to much after two of their leaders; Rotten and G-Man were mysteriously murdered in Hanson Park. The S=P Gaylords also credit themselves with finally whipping Harlem and Addison C-Notes. In the early 1990s, another Gaylord set or branch that had claimed the street corners of Lawndale and Altgeld , had closed shop due to Puerto Rican immigration flooding in to their neighborhood. A few of their remaining members, joined up with Sayre Park . But by the middle 1990s, Sayre Park suddenly found their membership dwindling. This was for various reasons, which included members such as Lil Duck and Styx transferring over to another set of Gaylords at Seeley and Ainslie. There was also the incarceration of around ten members, that contributed to bringing down the membership numbers It was around this time, that a Spanish gang known as the "Insane Dragons" from the corners of Fairfield and Augusta, tried to take over the Sayre Park neighborhood to have as a new satellite set. The attempted take over issued in to an all out war. Even though the Sayre Park Gaylord were far out numbered, they still fought them to a standstill. Sadly during this war, a well respected Gaylord named Bishop was killed on the corners of Neva and Wrightwood. After the unbearable death of Bishop, the war escalated even more, as the Gaylords stepped up their assaults against the Dragons. These vicious assaults included three Dragons being shotgunned on the corner of Normandy and Grand, where one of the Dragon's arms was completely blown off. The all out war finally came to a conclusion, as the Dragons started dropping their flags, disbanding and leaving the area completely. The Dragons just seemed to have no stomach or interest in fighting for possession of the Sayre Park area anymore. In 2004, the Gaylords still maintain control Sayre Park, although with a lot less territory. Loss of territory, mostly came about through a trivial spat with some Latin Brothers from Nagle Avenue. This allowed the area to be open for the folks. It will be a while before anyone can wipe the S-P Gaylords off of Grand Avenue. They been there for almost 30 years and still maintain a strong hold on the neighborhood despite all the changes. They have a good relationship with the Vice Lords in the area, as well as various Latino people gang members who live in the area.
It was a hot night in 1979 (?) and the only Hit Lords hanging at Sayre Park were Dago, Greek and me . . . and maybe Buggs (a little foggy here). I do know that Lil? Pierre from Lawndale was there. He'd been hanging with us quite a bit lately.
(It took me months to put this much together. I'll talk about the Hit Lords in a year, or ten - - when I have the energy).
What little that the group knew was that just a few weeks (days?) before, I was hanging out with Lil? Satan (ironically my little brother?s nickname) and Lil? Rags from Lawndale behind the Montclare theater and we got to f_cking around. They had two pairs of handcuffs and decided to f_ck with the little dude: Me. (I think I just turned 12, but I was more apt than most 7th graders and that's why they liked me).
I dodged them, I could?ve escaped them if I wanted to, but it was all shits and giggles, and after I got winded, I let them catch me.
Next thing I knew all laughing and giggly by thwarting those older guys, I was handcuffed to two doors of a white Ford LTD station wagon (owner of the Atlantic Restaurant?s car). I was still laughing, ?Now what??
It was a short time, as I remember it. Nobody ever punched me . . . it was actually all kid gloves - - Up until when Lil? Satan came over the top of the car and crucified me by landing on my head and neck (I don?t know if they heard the popping of my vertebrae, but I surely did. In my head, you could?ve heard it in River Grove). The handcuffs left scars I proudly showed for years.
I thought I was f_cked but I didn?t shed a tear and Lil? Satan said: ?Congratulations! You?ve just won an initiation to the Lawndale and Altgeld Gaylords!?
Pulling back the tears as much as I could, bleeding from my wrists as they were, I felt proud.
There was one problem: I was a Hit Lord.
I was confused. I kept my initiation to myself. I wasn?t sure what to do. But hell, I was all of a sudden a Gaylord and that felt pretty damned good. I went from this rag tag group of three older guys and three pee-wees to the largest white gang in the city.
So, to go back to that steamy summer night when Lil? Pierre and the Hit Lords were hanging out at Sayre Park:
Apparently, Greek had been talking shit about Slick from the C-Notes. We were just hanging and suddenly a carload of C-Notes showed up and Slick wanted a piece of Greek?s ass (okay that?s kind of funny when you say it out loud). There was nothing the Hit Lords could do so we just sat there. And Greek was in the wrong, so we shouldn?t have disputed it anyway - - it was personal.
Bottom line, Greek got his ass kicked. If I remember correctly, Slick delivered a high roundhouse to his head, like something out of a Bruce Lee movie, and Greek landed in the sandbox.
At some point, Lil? Pierre said, ?You guys need some back up. If you were Gaylords, this may have not happened.?
It was decided right there that we would be Gaylords (much to my relief because I was one already and didn?t say so yet).
And that?s when Sayre Park was born.
Footnote: This is all written to the best of my memory. How Sayre was sanctioned as an official G/L section was above my "pay grade," so to speak. But there it was, and hopefully still is.