(Illinois - Chicago) Chicago's Gangland

Mapmaker: Thrasher, Frederic

(Illinois - Chicago) Chicago's Gangland

c. 1930

  • ~Catalog 60~
  • Chicago's Gangland.

    When violence was at its epidemic worst, a great sociologist at University of Chicago took a serious look at the components of the city's problems. This map that he created is based on the efforts of Parks & Burgess foundational map, that sprang from their theory that cities organized themselves almost like cells, with structures and functions that were predictable. The nucleus of the cell being the heart of the city, or the Loop and downtown area. What was found was that ethnic divisions marked neighborhoods, and in the friction and struggle for survival structures didn't exist as supposed.

    Indeed later great Chicagoan and author, Studs Terkel would speak of how America is not a melting pot, but a tossed salad, and Chicago could serve as this evidence. Segregated communities are identified here as "Polish", "Italian", "Dutch", "Jewish", "Negro", "German" and others. Definitions are not given for those areas identified as "American" or "Cosmopolitan". It does also show the "Black Belt" which was the African American ghetto instated by Mayor Harrison on the near south side.

    Throughout the map are locations of gangs such as "Dukies", "Shielders" and "Polish Gangs" , along with different colloquial neighborhood names like "Bucktown" or "The Valley". Certain vices also make appearances such as "Gang Camp (Auto Thieves)" or "Dope Gang".

    A great map that takes a cold hard look at the nature of American cities at the time, and fine piece of Chicago history.

    Condition is very good, with some light overall toning to the sheet, but this is one of the best instances of the map we can remember handling. Image size is 26 x 17.5 (inches).