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The South Side Gaylords had a decent sized chapter in the Back of Yards of Chicago from the mid 1960's up until the mid 1970's.


Unsolved Murders From This South Side Hood: Who killed Carolyn Vandermolen,13 years old, of 50th and Laflin, on September 23rd 1972?
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Southside Chicago Gaylords

The Battle Over Sherman Park

The Lords of 55th and Ashland

Original corner of 55th and Ashland

Almighty Sherman Park Gaylords

Almighty Fulton School Gaylords

5200 South Throop
5300 South Wood

Sherman Park Gaylords Sidewalk Tags

Between 49th and 50th on Ashland east side of the street, including: Slick, Billy, Kid, Koolaid and Molen

A retired 55th and Ashland Gaylord had this to say about their history:

We started in early 66 and 67! We actually were called the Halsted Street Hustlers back in the early sixties! A lot of the original guys came from South of 55th/Garfield Blvd. in the West Englewood area. We hung at 55th and Halsted in the pool hall Big Jimís right next to the Family restaurant a half a block from the Ketchum Funeral Home. The Burger King group started in 1966. But with the help of Sam Smith (RIP) and a couple of guys from the 18th and Western Gaylord section, Johnny G. and Joe S, we eventually became Gaylordís. Joe S. had grandparents that lived on 53rd and Aberdeen. Johnny was from Taylor and Loomis where his Aunt owned a restaurant. We hung on the bridges by Sherman Park Library and by on the bridge at Libby school. We had also done a lot of weight lifting at Sherman Park weight room by the pool. I boxed a few round with Sam. We did a lot of weight lifting there. That was our main hang out area along with Moran Park on 57th and Racine. That's where the motorcycle cops used to chase out of all the time the pool! We hung at the pool hall on 55th and Ashland all the time. Sam was from 59th and Throop right by the tracks. We had hung around the viaduct there a lot and there was a small park right by the bridge where we drank beer from the store and meat market JJ provision on 56th and Racine.

"Yes, we did have quite a few rumbles at Gage Park on Maplewood! The Black gangs were at their best in summer of 67! We had 25 of us locked up at 63st Lawndale! Then another 20 of us were taken to 62nd Racine! Can't even begin to tell you how well I knew 63rd Street  Chicago Lawn and 35th and Lowe  and 62nd Racine! These were my home away from home! Most GL'S spent a lot of time at 61st Racine or 35th Lowe! Knew a lot of the coppers by their last names! FUNNY SH_T NOW wasn’t back then!"

The Burger King Building today

The Burger King Building as of 6-10-2012

55th and Ashland history

In 1966, when the Halsted Street Hustlers/55th and Ashland Gaylords started, most of the original members came from Englewood and West Englewood. Many Gaylords came from as far south as the 70 Street neighborhoods. The pool hall and the Burger King were main hangouts until a lot of complaints were filed due to fighting in the parking lot, and the heat brought about the area due to the Joe Hensen murder, June, 1969. As more Police presence hit the Burger King area and more and more recruits started to come from the Back of the Yards/Sherman Park area, the Gaylords started to hang out at Sherman Park.

Gaylord's Rumble Against the Black P-Stones

"We had many of wars with the Black P-Stone Rangers from East 71st Street and also from Madison Avenue and Western Avenue! Matter of fact we had a real good one on the bridge by Sherman park Library in 1969! We had Molotov's, some hand guns, and a couple of shot guns! I can remember we threw the bottles in the trees overhanging the bridge and man gas came down burning the sh_t out of those guys! It was some funny sh_t at the time! They had fired some shots at us when we started chasing them down 55th  Street! We chased past Aberdeen then they all scattered! What a time we had! We were all lit up on beer & wine."

Ogden Park was on Loomis bordered by Racine we had the DEVIL DISCIPLES we were fighting from 59th and Peoria in that neck of the woods. Devils Disciples were from 59th and Peoria Street, and Black P-Stones were from CVS high school area. There were black gangs around Morgan Park which the Gaylordís fought. P-Stones wanted all of the south side and were trying to get the DD'S to join instead of fighting between each other.

Gaylord's Rumble Against the Saints

"Some of us got pretty banged up during that hour or so! Then the cops came and chased us with canine patrols! I can remember we took off in cars and some of us didn't make to our cars so the we cut through gang ways on Racine with the dogs at our heels! FUN TIMES FLIPPING FENCES! We did have a couple of rumbles with the Saints in Sherman by the pool! Some of them came by in a car and by the field house you could turn around in there like a cul-de-sac they threw some beer bottles at us and we nailed  them on 52nd  park exit! Shot one in the driver seat and the other three in back we beat the Windows out and they were pretty f_cked up!"

Gaylord's Verses the Burger King Boys

"We also had a few turf problems with the Burger King boys on 55th  but after Billy G got the sh_t beat out of him by Tim O. and that sh_t stopped! I miss a lot of those guys Sam S., Billy O., Randy G., Mike & Billy S. to name a few!"

Starting of Monkey Town Boys

"I bet you didn't know of another spin off of us! The Monkey Town Boys! They were a younger group who were at the 49th   Street park! We were there mentors!" Monkey Town were a bunch of greasers that hung out at Throop Park (Monkey Town). They wore the linings from leather jackets like the Muskadoodlers only they had the head of Gorilla and Monkey Town on the back of it.

Gaylords Verses the Cornell Dukes

"Cornell Dukes, I hate to say it they were f_cking punks! No where near as f_cking tough as the Rangers or Saints ! WE DID MORE A_S KICKING THEN THEY EVEN THOUGHT OF! "

Gaylords Fight with the Outlaws and D.C. Eagles

"Then there was the FREE Fair we got the sh_t kicked out of us by the Chicago Outlaw Motorcycle Club! We were there on a Friday night and having a great f_cking time till a CO AND the DC EAGLE’s started f_cking with one of our guys in line for a ride! Well needless to say one of ours got stabbed and nearly died! That was a rough weekend. They took Peanuts to Evangelical Hospital on 54th and Morgan and we weren’t sure he was going to make it! Well just a bit of History! The guys names I gave you are either dead or in prison! Oh don’t let me forget Tom M - Machine Gun M! Or MM as we called him. "

An Ex-Gaylord told: "A little more History Chicago's Back Of The Yards had the Free Fair From July 5th thru August 4th from the mid 50's thru the Mid 70's, and for some reason us GAYLORDS and the OUTLAWS always got into a rumble with serious injuries. I believe that is the reason they closed the free fair and it go's back to the 60's where the GAYLORDS had a set from 21st to 26th and Oakley. The Outlaws up to this day have their only Clubhouse in Chicago on 24th and Rockwell, and they had furious rumbles back in the Day."


Back of the Yards Turf

The Gaylords from these sets also fought a Puerto Rican gang called the Latin Souls, and a predominantly white gang the Cornell Dukes, so named because their main hangout was Cornell Square Park at 50th and Wood. The Cornell Dukes were a pretty large gang from the mid 60's to mid 70's. Their turf was 4700 South to 5100 South, and Ashland west to the Railroad tracks at 2200 west. They were main enemies of the Gaylords at 51st and Wood. A former Chicago Gage Park graduate had this to say about the opposing gangs of the Gaylords, "At Sherman Park, I don't think it was necessarily black gangs that the Gaylords fought, just blacks in general. I had numerous problems with blacks at Libby Grammar School (5300 South Loomis) and at Gage Park H.S. and it was never gang related.They were black, I was white, and they had a big problem with that."

A Gage Park Graduate had this to say about the Gaylords' Turf, "The Fulton Gaylords' turf was 5100 South to 5500 South and Ashland to the Railroad tracks at 2200 West. Actually very similar to the Dukes' turf, but of course the southern boundaries were disputed by the Latin Souls, and the northern fringe by the Dukes. The Sherman Park Gaylords at their height, probably had the area between Ashland and Loomis (1400 West) from 4900 South to 5600 South and the area between Loomis and Racine from 4900 South to 5500 South (this tract included Sherman Park) East of Racine, I'd guess they had the area between 4900 South to about 5200 South, from Racine to Halsted."

The South Side Gaylords did not wear colors during this time period, but their actual colors were Black and Brown. At Gage Park High School during the years 1974-77, very few gangs wore sweaters. These gangs included: the Mad Lads (very large, very active, and very short lived), the Artesian Cobras (a greaser gang who evolved from the 59 Street Supreme rulers, and most of whom were weightlifting fanatics), The Settlement (1966-1968), Latin Souls, Latin Lovers, and Street Lords. The Latin Lovers and the Street Lords briefly combined their forces around 1975 to become the Street Lords. Of all the gangs mentioned, the Mad Lads were predominantly white, and wore gray sweaters and berets. Other gangs that hungout in the area were: The V's they hung around behind Gage Pk H.S. The Kingsmen, they were from around 59th Street. Nightingales, they hung by the grammer school on 52nd and Rockwell. The Burger King Boys, they hung at B.K. that used to be on 55th east of Ashland. Sawyer Boys, hung at Sawyer school at 53rd and Sawyer. And the Whipple Street Boys. While gang sweaters were heard about, in all honesty, you really didn't see them that often.

It is possible the Sherman Park Gaylords (the 55th-Ashland chapter), started at the pool hall at 5543 South Ashland. If you are up on your Mod History you will know was the scene of a bloody gun battle on Thanksgiving Day in 1926, between the Saltis-McErlane Gang and the South Side O'Donnells (3 men were wounded). The pool hall is now gone, but it has been stated by an area resident, "The pool hall was still there when the neighborhood changed around 1973. The pool hall would have been the only place on that block that I could envision the Gaylords' frequenting, and when you think about it, that's just the kind of place they'd hangout, and it would be 55th-Ashland." The Sherman Park Gaylords were well established and in control in 1967.

A retired Lawndale and Altgeld Gaylord had this to say about the 55th and Ashland Gaylords: "I remember Gaylords from Sherman set attending Gaylord and UFO meetings at Saint Sylvesters Church on Palmer Street in the early 1970s. The parish Priest use to let the Gaylords use the Church Hall to conduct our meetings."

Eventually, the 55th and Ashland Gaylords would start to hang out in Sherman Park near the swimming pool. Around 1971, the Gaylords were hanging out near the swimming pool at the top of a small hill, when a black gang in a car pulled up and started taunting them. A young Mexican Gaylord ran up to the car and supposely kicked it, when someone inside the car fatally shot him. A Chicago Tribune article stated that the shooting followed an argument between a Louis Fuentes and an unidentified group over use of the swimming pool one Sunday night. Louis Fuentes was dead on arrival at Mercy Hospital.

Louis Fuentes Shooting - RIP Louie Kanooey

According to a Back of the Yards girl: she was walking home from volleyball practice at St. John's, when she saw a carload of black men driving through the Sherman Park pool parking lot. She then heard screeching of tires and yelling going on between the men in the car and kids in the parking lot. The car then screeched away. When she got home she heard police cars racing to the park, so she ran down to see what was going on. She saw Louie lying on the ground. Louie got shot right on the hill by the pool . The rectory was right across the street and Father Nowak (pastor) came out & gave him last rites. Someone put up white cross. Following the shooting a group of 11 Gaylords arrived at Sherman Park "to weep a vigil" on the spot where the shooting occurred. The kids were playing the song "Brother Louie," by the Stories, which was a big hit for that year 1973. The Chicago Police came and ordered the group, armed with bricks and bottles, to leave. When the Gaylords refused, the police arrested them on charges of being in the park after hours.

A followup to the story paraphrased: Brighton Park Homicide detectives arrested Albert, 24, last night for the Murder of Louis Fuentes, 18, in front of Sherman Park at 52d and Elizabeth Streets. Fuentes, who lived at 7307 S. Whipple St., was shot once in the chest Sunday night as he walked up to a car carrying two black men. Witnesses said Fuentes was trying to prevent the rekindling of a fight between white and black youths which had occurred minutes earlier in the Sherman Park Pool, according to Police Lt. Joseph Curtin. LT. CURTIN said Albert was seized in his apartment by police using information supplied by witnesses, including the license number of the auto that carried the assailant. According to Curtin, Albert told police a white youth had thrown a bottle at his car in Sherman Park. He chased the youth and several other white youths on foot. Albert returned to his car and then saw Fuentes approaching. He thought Fuentes was one of the youths he had been chasing, Albert said. Albert took a .32 caliber revolver from his glove compartment and shot Fuentes as he approached, according to Curtin. The lieutenant said neither Fuentes nor Albert of South Racing Av., had been involved in the earlier fight at the pool.

R.I.P. Little White (Frankie) and Clubber (Greg)

Both drown in the Sherman Park Lagoons the Summer of 1967.

Sunday Family Swim Gang Fight at the Sherman Pool

Debbie S, a neighborhood girl, remembers this incident that happened at the Sherman Park Pool Family Swim in the early seventies: "It was family swim and all the families were in the pool when the lifeguards blew there whistle, 'Everyone out of the pool! Go to locker rooms and change!' A female lifeguard came in and said that no one was allowed into pool or out into parking lot. She said there was a disturbance in the parking lot, and the police were called. She said it was for their safety - in other words everyone was locked in the locker rooms. At that time, the Gaylords were fighting a black gang in the parking lot. It started with each gang throwing bottles at each other and then they went at it with bats and chains.  You could hear the sirens, and we knew the police had arrived. The police came and broke up the gang fight with no arrests. When the pool people were allowed to leave, everyone made their way passed the police along with piles of broken glass, bats and chains in the parking lot. "

Back of the Yards: Ethnic Makeup

A former area resident who lived in the Back of The Yards area from the early 1960's until the late 1970's had this to say about the ethnic makeup of Sherman Park: "As to the ethnic makeup of the area around Sherman Park. Though the park is only 3 blocks by 2 blocks, it actually borders 3 different communities. The area immediately south of the park is West Englewood, and it was the first to go black (around 1969) when it had been white that section was predominantly Irish. The area immediately east of the park is called New City (ironically all of the Back of the Yards is considered to be part of New City, but a large part of New City is outside the Back of the Yards) this area was also predominantly Irish when it was white, and it was also the next area bordering the park to go black. The area immediately north of the park was very heavily Polish, mainly due to the presence of St John of God parish, this area was also the last to remain white. The area to the immediate west, which like the area to the north is also in the Back of the Yards, was more mixed with probably Germans being the largest group followed by Poles. This area also had a small influx of Appalachian whites in the late 60's. The last whites to move in to the area."

"For all intents and purposes, Sherman Park became an all black park by about 1976 or 1977. A surprising number of whites still lived directly north of the park, but that was no doubt due to the presence of St. John of God Church, which remained predominantly white until it's closure around 1994. Today, Gage Park H.S. is probably pretty close to being half black, half hispanic, with a few odd white or Arab students."

Sherman Park in the Seventies

An Alum from Gage Park High School had this to say about Sherman Park: "There were so many shootings at the park and the cops used to chase us from the pool all the time. I do remember one time when the Kings were fighting the Gaylords, there were bothers in each gang and that was the first time I saw the Gaylords bring the guns down from over the wall, I think I was maybe in 7th or 8th grade, not sure it was so long ago. I remember when they shut down the park around 1969-71 for a shooting, you couldn't even walk on the side of the park. I know a few guys were picked up for it and a few went to the Audy home. By today's standards that all was mild. I still would rather have the old days back."

A former resident from 51st and Ashland had this to say about the South Side Gaylords: "The Gaylords were a solid gang that ran deep in our hood. Though I was not a Gaylord, I felt safe in my neighborhood knowing they were there to defend us. They did not direspect any of the neighborhood residents. They did not run from no one. They defended the neighborhood with honor, doing what they had to do to keep rival gangs out."

Back of the Yards - White Flight

So this is where the battle ended for the 55th and Ashland Gaylords. About 1977, the Gaylords broke up their set due to gang members getting sent to the joint, families moving to the suburbs, and most important: their neighborhood changed around them, therefore, there was nothing left to fight for!

The South Side Gaylords defined GAYLORDS to mean:


Almighty 55thAlmighty Sherman Park Gaylords Gang Card& Ashland

Actual gang card from the early 1970's

Ex-Gaylord Remembering the Neighborhood

An ex-Gaylord had this to say: It was great times back in the Day when Gangbanging was Gangbanging not like today with all the Drive-bys.You fought with your Fist's, if not you had Bat's and Chain's. Then you had the White flight when one Black family moved in then everybody leaves. Great Irish Neighborhood with a few token Mexican-Americans like me (laughter) I even fought the Puerto Rican's or the Latin Souls as they were called.

Here is what the mid-70's Gaylord had to say about their tough gang fights: "The Saints fought tough with the Gaylords back in the Day. The Saints have been around since the late 50's. They were almost all White Irish and Polish back in the 60ís. Then in the late 70's, they were almost Half Mexican."

He said this about the Gaylords end days at the park: "The mid-70ís were bad for the South Side Gaylords. A majority are dead in the 70's. Drugs hit hard and the South South Gaylords went from Gangbanging to Hardcore Drugs like Heroin. I am sorry to say it, but true. And, it wasnít just the Gaylords: a lot of Gang members during that era all succumbed to Drugs, and a lot died from complications due to dirty needles, etc.Too many for me to count. Like I said, it is really sad, but true that is what happened."

When asked about the end days he had this to say: " Where do I begin? The Gaylords demise was due to White Flight but they moved further west to Ashland Ave in the mid 70's, from 48th to 53rd. After the Gaylords moved into that area is when the Drug scene came full Blast into the area. There was no more Gangbanging just heavy Drug use Primarily Heroin. A lot of Gaylords turned into full-fledged Junkies. Most Died or are in Prison, or got straight and moved where I do not know."

Rest In Peace Czmiel Dog

Rest In Peace Spook

Sherman Park

Almighty Gaylords

52nd Street between Throop and Elizabeth

52nd Street between Throop and Elizabeth...

Gaylords hangout near the swimming pool in Sherman Park.

5200 South Throop...

Libby Grammar School from Sherman Park

Looked at from Sherman Park

5200 South Throop
Sherman Park Pool

Sherman Park Pool...

The Gaylords use to hangout along the fence

Street is 52nd between Throop and Elizabeth

Sherman Park Pool...

Gaylord hangout from a different angle

Sherman Park Pool
Sherman Park basketball court

Sherman Park Benches...

Gaylord hangout on the benches at Sherman Park

Sherman Park looking Northeast towards Saint John of God. "I Remember the Gaylords hanging out by the benches," a former resident

Cornell Park Field House...

Cornell Park Dukes use to congregate on these steps

Cornell Park Dukes Hangout
Cornell Park

Cornell Park...

The Dukes of Cornell Park claimed this park

More Cornell Park...

Cornell Park From another view

Cornell Park Another View
Article about the Tilt shooting and the rumble between Cornell Dukes and the Gaylords in 1970s from and unidentifiable publication, Courtesy of Mr. Capone.

"The Hut" Beef stand

Another hangout of the Gaylords was Oscar's Grill on 50th and Ashland.

The Hut as it was called was Oscar's Grill at 50th Street and Ashland Avenue

The Hut has long been torn down. It would have stood where the hole is third building from the right. In 1973, it was a big Gaylord hangout with Micky Slick, Smitty, Vasko, Pud, Kook, Oil Can, Head, and the rest of the gang. The Chi-lites "Have you seen her" was played constantly on the Hut's jukebox.

History of the Oscars/ the Hut

From a guy who worked at Oscar's: I worked at the Hut before it became Oscar's Grill. The Gaylords started hanging out at the Hut when a guy named Oscar bought it and took over the Hut and renamed it Oscar's. A guy named John Grimaldi originally owned the Hut before he sold it to Oscar.

A Hippie From the Hut Said

When I was 16 and used to hang around at the Hut on 50th and Ashland (which was a well-known hippie and Gaylords hangout), the cops pulled up one night and made me get in the squad car. I wasn't doing anything wrong, just standing on Ashland, but they were shaking kids down from time to time so I guess it was my turn. They took me to the parking lot of Hemlock bank and asked me "so who's dealing?" I honestly didn't know because I wasn't really into that scene (yet), I was still just a wannabe. But I was so thrilled to have been hassled by the police! It was like earning a little street cred. They asked me more questions, searched my purse then dropped me back off at the Hut. I'll never forget that. Seeing that building, it was the first memory that came up.

Chicago Gage Park High School

Gage Park High School

The information published on this page was given to the webmaster by a 1970's graduate (Larry who took the pictures) from Gage Park High School, who grew up in the New City - Back of The Yard - area of South Chicago. He grew up with many of the Gaylords. Other information was obtained from 1960 - 1970's Gage Park graduates through a posting on I wanted to thank everyone from Sherman Park and Gage Park high School (especially the retired member of the Little Nightingales and his sister, and the Gage Park gal who knew Mick - a junior Gaylord) for providing us with this historical data and photographs.

Almighty BridgeportLords of BridgeportGaylords

Two other sections on the South Side that the Gaylords' held was on Throop Street between 31st and Archer and 18th and Western. The 18th and Western Gaylords wore the colors Red and Brown. See Stone Greaser.

Pilsen Gaylords - 18th and Western Section - Bohemian Gaylords

Pilsen Gaylords (18th and Western Gaylords) wore the colors Black and brown. Most of this section was of Bohemian decent which refelcted the population of Pilson at that time. Therefore, all sections on the Southside of Chicago started by the 18th and Western Gaylords wore the black and brown colors like 55th and Ashland/Sherman Park Gaylords. As Pilson became more Latino - this set became part of 2-6.

Debbie Kozlarek/Carolyn Vandermolen Murder Case

On the evening of September 22. 1972, two attractive young girls from the Back of the Yards, Debbie Kozlarek 17, and Carolyn Vandermolen 13, were last seen walking South in the 5100 block of South Elizabeth at around 11pm. The following morning their bodies were found just off the bridle path in Washington Park, west of the 5200 block of Payne Drive. Both girls had been shot in the back of the head execution style with a 32 caliber pistol. Here is a short video of all the Places that Debbie Korlarek and Carolyn Vandermolen were seen that night, Click here==> Carolyn Vandermolen and Debbie Kozlarek page

Nearly four decades later the case remains unsolved, but through the power of the internet, small but significant details of the case have been gradually emerging. Feel free to contact us at Carolyn and Debbie Murders to offer your theories, suggestions, questions, or memories. We may never bring Debbie and Carolyn's murderers to justice in this world, but we will not give up trying.

Carolyn and Debbie Murders