Uptown was a battle zone! Today, Chicago's Uptown community is more known for it's jazz clubs and
coffee houses than it's gang wars. This area is one example of how the City of Chicago is eliminating it's ghettos - almost overnight.
The cleanup effort is good for the city, but the blood lost here battling for these blocks should not be forgotten.
To look at this Uptown Chicago street corner today, you would never know that it was once home to one of
the most insane Gaylord sets: The Sunnyside and Magnolia Gaylords. In the 1970s through the late 1990s, this
neighborhood known as one Chicago's poorest and toughest neighborhoods, was home to one of the most proud and
loyal Gaylord Nation sets. These pictures do not tell the real story. They can only give you a point of reference.
Back in the day, these buildings were falling apart, and were covered with Gaylord taggings and murals.
Today, you see young well-to-do mother's pushing expensive baby carriages down the sidewalks of this once Uptown
Chicago slum, and you wonder if these new residence know the blood that was shed defending these corners, these
corners of Sunnyside and Magnolia.
In the movie "Running Scared," with billy Crystal and Gregory hines, they run thru the Alley an run right past this mural.
A Sunnyside and Magnolia Gaylord had this to say:
"I was a Gaylord from the set of Sunnyside and Magnolia. We were good brothers and brave soldiers that carried the flag for the North Side throughout the 90's.
We produced such legends as JD. and 3 Finger Billy, and we were always a safe haven for those Lords
who lost their homes to other gangs. And we still carry the flag for the brothers in prison and I think
we should have got more credit. I am one of the last young Gaylords, 22, and I saw many Gaylords fall
victim to crack and heroine. It destroyed us like no gang or police department ever could.
Most of my old Gaylord brothers have been murdered, overdosed, or are rotting in our flawed
prison system or are junkies with no soul. I can honestly say that I have never met any people
like those Gaylords I knew. They were the bravest, craziest, toughest, cockiest whiteboys I
have ever known or ever will know. Hanging out with the Lords has gotten me many a beatings,
stabbed twice, run over with a car, shot at, chased and eventually incarcerated but I will tell you something,
I wouldn't change a damn thing. I am very proud to have participated in it, it was a privelege and I went down
with that ship kicking and punching. Often I find my mind wandering back to those days of my youth, when everything seemed right
and me and my Gaylord brothers were the kings of the world. It's a real tragedy what became of
most of them. If I knew when I was a kid that my Pee-Wee Gaylord brothers would become statistics
the way they did, and I told them I dont think it would make a difference because we were so wild.
We all had something in common, we were all willing to die for the Gaylord Nation! That's how much it
meant to us. Most of us didnt expect to see 21 anyway and didn't really care. Most of us came from broken
abusive homes where life was miserable. And when we were by ourselves, we were just some kid from a messed up
home and was going nowhere. But when we were together in the form of Gaylords, we were kings and princes of
our neighborhood which was our world. The Gaylord Nation was a band of brothers from similar upbringings,
mindsets, and we shared the same struggles in life. And when we all united it was a beautiful and dangerous
masterpiece that cannot be duplicated. I still have scars inside and out from my experiences as a Gaylord.
My time with them helped to mold me into the man I am today. I still keep in touch with the ones I can,
but its not the same anymore and it never will be. This city and the world lost something great when the
Gaylords disapeared like dust in the wind."
I grew up on Sunnyside and Magnolia in the early 70*s I experienced a few street fights defending our neighborhood. The mall was the hot spot of course I am in my late 40*s now but I do remember back in the day. I lost some very good friends and even a brother he was better known as FRO . His nickname was given to him because of his hair it was so curly. My other brother is in prison today for a violent crime. He has been in and out of prison most of his life. He was known as THOR. Then there was Chet the father of my child. He drowned up on the lake before my son was born. I moved away so I don't even know where he was laid to rest. Montrose Cemetery. I suppose. He was known as THUMPER. Then there was my good friend. CARGO he?s the only one who had a sweater. There were a few girls I knew in uptown PERKY because she was always up. Speed freak I guess, and Hurk that was my brother FRO*s girl. She was also was THUMPERS sister. I look back on those days. It wasn't all violence. We helped pass out bag lunches. Went downtown and worked at the Food Co Op. We brought back food for the poor. I moved to Ohio to save my child at the time I was only 16 and was all strung out on drugs. Lucky for me He's a healthy 28 year old with 4 children of his own. I almost forgot BOLLEN he was a golden glove boxer or so I was told. There was CUTTHROAT GEORGE. Known because of the scar that ran all the way across his neck. And last but not least KING, Rumor has it he is the one that gunned my brother FRO down. It was never proven who really shot him. But he is buried in Rosehill Cemetery. He had a price on his head. He owed drug money to the local dealer. Yes I remember these people with pride. Guessing my leaving saved my life. My street name was TINKERBELL. Through the alley where we used to live it used to read THUMPER LOVES TINKERBELL. Well that was I.
I knew most of the Gaylords from Magnolia & Sunnyside. I lived in that neighborhood from 1977-1982. I wasn't involved in the gang personally, but my first love was a Gaylord and that's how I knew the other members. I've never been one to glorify street gangs, but these boys were different from other gangs in Uptown. They had a of of heart. Deborah of Uptown.
Hi, my name is Debbie and i lived on Malden and Sunnyside from 1969 to 1978.i knew some of the Gaylords.They took good care of the kids in the neighborhood. I remember one time the Gaylords had a cook-out block party for the kids in the area and they had to stop it because some of the Latin Kings came over and attacked a little girl in the ally. well needless to say the party was over and they went after the ones who hurt the little girl. there was another time that one gang i'm not sure which one but the were looking for a Gaylord and when they found him, tied him to a tree in the park and cut him up real bad. it didn't kill him but not far from it. the guys i knew were really great guys. i dated a couple and babysat for some.to me i felt safer being in Uptown as a kid.there was another time i can remember where two guys wanted to join the Gaylords and my sister and me were out side on the park, the one guy they were talking to pulled out a gun and started shooting.