Honoring All Greasers From Detroit

Detroit Skyline from Windsor, Ontario 1960

Detroit Skyline 1960. (click Image) for an enlarged photo

    Greaser Gangs

    LOS AZTECAS: 1965
    Who were part of the Bagley Boys
    I remember them, in my neighborhood, Southwest Detroit. I wasn't in the gang, they were in decline when I became a teenager. But they had so many members that they split into three groups; Big Bagley Boys, Little Bagley Boys, and Baby Bagley Boys. Most were Hispanic but it included others. The current "Latin Counts" of today is a spinoff from the Bagley Boys. The Stilettos were on the other side, closer to Downtown, near Tiger Stadium on Trumbull.
    MOZAMS: 1965
    who were part of the Stilleto's
    I knew a few of the members of the "Warrendale Gang" but was not one of their members. I grew up on the west side of Rouge Park and they were from the east side of the park. Some of them hung out at Daly's on Warren and I was there one time when the Stilleto's hit the place. One of the big windows I was sitting near came crashing in from something they threw at it, maybe a beer bottle. Nobody was hurt in the incident but I recall some members of the Warrendale Gang went after them but don't know if they caught them or not.
    RH from the area had this to say:
    I lived on Inglis right at the end of Patton Park and remember the Highway Men well. They had a hang out on a corner of Vernor (not sure of the name of the street but it was by the Martensons Funeral Home) between Inglis and Woodmere. I remember going past there and seeing memebers outside and wondering if they were really as "bad" as the rumors had them being. My mother never allowed me to got to Patton Park after dark because of the possibility that "they" might show up and cause trouble. I lived three blocks from Veron Hwy, right by Springwells and there was a Pool Hall between Inglis and Springwells on Vernor and there were always rumors of gangs showing up there. Sorry can't remember the name of the Pool Hall or the other gangs.
    I can tell you who you might want to contact for more info. Randy F. class of 1966 lived in my neighborhood and he should be able to give you lots of interesting info. I actually think he was a member of the Highway Men.
    I also remember the Bagley Boys and the Stilettos well. My cousin and I used to skip a class now and then and go to the "soda shop" two blocks from Western going towards Fort St. It was always a thrill/fear that we might encounter the Bagley Boys. Funny ~~ people always talked about Detroit and the Black communinty as if they were a problem and as far as I'm concerned there was NEVER a problem with any Black kids but there were plenty of problems with the Bagley Boys and the Stilettos.
    I remember one day going to school, having gotten off the bus at Vernor and Scotten and finding out that there was a deal body in the Gazebo in Clark Park across from the school. Never did hear the out come but it was rumored that it was a Bagley Boy "hit". Now that is of course hear say. But that and the reputation of the Bagley Boys kept my mother from letting me stay after school for any school activities. I knew a lot of the guys rumored to be in the gangs but I certainly never had a problem with them nor was I ever afraid of them.
    I hope you will express in your website the need for people to understand that those gang members were all sad, troubled kids that had no other way of expressing their frustrations and anger at the home lifes they had and were to trying to escape the reality of it. They were young kids who needed something to fill the void in their lives. I pray that they all now have found happiness and peace in their lives.
    Funny how even the memories of the gangs still have a firm hold on my memories of my time spent at Western. As I grow older I appreciate the past more and more. We had a good group of kids at Western and I for one never let those gangs stop me from enjoying the awesome friends I had at Western.
    I will certainly be checking out your Website and following your progress in this endeavor.
    Good Luck, RH
    Bagley Boy's and Stiletto's Colors:
    The Bagley's wore green work pants and white Tee shirts while the Stilettos wore the nice black pants and black shirts because most of them went to the Catholic school.
    VALLEY: Howard and Lansing
    MCKINSTRY BOYS: Mckinstry and Vernor
    LANSING BOYS: Black Mario and White Mario were the leaders
    I remember during the fifties at Corktown the Crows ran that area. On Trumbull from Grandriver to Vernor before the stilettos, the Butternuts & Junior Butternuts. They ruled the streets. They were a small gang that made the newspapers many times while I was a kid. Most of them went to Franklin Grade School. Many of these gangmembers also went to Western around the mid fifties. They hung out that the Big Z's Drug Store on Temple & Trumbull. They were always fighting with many of the kids from Jefferson Junior High that was located before the Lodge Expressway was built & way before the projects were built. Progress has leveled that section of town. Most of the people that I went to school in that area are long gone. But I do see old friends once in a while. The Shakers also made some big headlines.
    25TH BOYS:
    Between the Bagleys and the Stilettos were the 25th boys . Corner of 25th and porter . I can remember at least 4 generations . Dont know about the others but most are now dead or in the joint .
    Yes, I grew up on 25th St. between Bagley & Porter. I remember the leader of the gang had many rings on his fingers taken from leaders of rival gangs. I was young and in awe of this guy. I was friends with most of the Hoodblades. They wore purple jackets with the name on back. I was a junior member of the 25th St. gang, and after the older guys moved away, joined the Army or went to jail, us younger guys took over and ran 25th & Porter. I remember an old story where a couple of Bagley Boys went down to Toledo, Ohio to buy some fireworks and got beat up. They came home got the gang together and went back and cleaned up on the bunch that had jumped them. They said the local news paper's headline read, "Detroit gang invades Toledo". I had a great time growing up there. Went to Hubbard, then to Webster and on to Western.
    I was to young to remember the Bagley Boys. My sister and brother use to hang out on 25th and Porter in front of Leonas store too. I grew up in the first house next to Leonas store; there was a bunch of us. My three older sister married 25th Street boys. They have told me some of the stories but not many. All they really say is that back than everyone used the fist not guns and knifes. I do remember my brother coming home one night stabbed.
    HOODBLADES: Colors Purple: 1955
    "Crazy Fred" was their leader, and the toughest member of the gang. They were involved in a gang fight where a rival member was stabbed to death.
    TRUMBULL GANG - Early 1960s:
    When I first lived at 625 Charlotte, in late 1964, one night the apartment house was visited by the Trumbull Gang. Everyone was warned to stay in as they were carrying chains.
    Dikes: Girl gang, Clark Park, 1950s
    hung out at the Red Devil's Coney on Vernor Street.
    GEER PARK BOYS: Dearborn area
    SLINGSHOT GANG: early 50s Dearborn
    Tore up a lot of suburb cities, broke a lot of windows, drag raced.
    I hung out with Bagley Boys & Stilettos, had friends in both gangs. Not only that but I hung out with the crows too--Tony C. was the leader with Little Dave, Danny S. Mike B.
    The Crows did not hang out at clark park unless they were going to fight the Bagley Boys lol and the Stilettos didn't hang out at Clark Park either--unless they were going to fight the Bagley Boys--what I'm saying is Clark Park was Bagley turf. Western High School was across the street from Clark Park--Stiletto and Bagley Boys both went to Western--I went to one gang fight--its was 62' or 63' I was too young to fight but was what they called an "armor Bearer" I carried their knives and brass knuckles and such and passed them out to them near the fight scene--because I was 11 or 12 at the time I wouldn't draw attention to myself and if I did get caught with the stuff the cops would go easy on me cuz I was so young. I did this for the Crows, Tony C. was the protector of us small fries in the hood. If someone was messing with me and Tony was nearby--that guy got hurt--no questions--Tony would make him eat dirt!!
    My brother who is older hung out with both Stilettos and Bagley Boys--would know more about them and some stories.
    The Crows hung out on Vernor Highway or Toledo & Juction st's TJ for short.
    I also had I friend in the Zulus---his name was Bernie Campell---he was killed in a bike accident. 69' or so---his parents owned a corner store at Rodgers & Juction across the street for the firehouse that was a cool hangout--but not for gangs.
    While growing up in the area of 24th and Porter Street - during the late fifties and early sixties - there was a small gang called the 25th Street Boys - we all hung out at the corner drug store called "Leona's on one corner and the other corner was Barons Drugs at the corner of 25th and Porter streets. Our ages were between say 14 years old to 17 years old [Western High]- The older guys were known as the "The Original Rogues'"" I also remember The Hoodblades- Man those were the good old days - I still go back to those areas - But just able everything is level now - so sad - I lived on 24th Street Det. until- 1963- then off to the U.S.Army I went for three years.
    I went to Western and heard of Both gangs. When school was over I would walk back to my neighborhood(Waterman and Regular) with a couple of friends or take the city bus home.The bus route was the Bacon bus.It went up and down Vernor Hwy. I felt safe walking home.We had our own gang,they were the Regular Boys,and we would get in scuffles with the Del-ray boys on the other side of the tracks.The Regular turf was Between W.Livernios over to Waterman,W.Lafayette to W.Vernor . The line was drawn at the Dragoon park on the north and I -75 on the south.Lots of fights broke out at Mott's hamburger joint on Fort and Livernois. Although we did some hanging out at Patton Park,we would go to Hine's Park when we could get a buddy with a car.I think this was our way to get out of the city. Gangs had a tatto on their hand.I think the stilletto's had a stilletto knife on their hand between the thumb and index finger. We would always be on the look out for a "mark" on a hand.
    Hangout Patton Park Pauls Pizzia.

Detroit, Gangs Racial Problems, and White Flight

Professor Frank said: I did live through a time when there were racial problems in Detroit. As I recall, early on, the worst of the racial violence was mob related. It seems that a few people would start something and then large numbers of bystanders would pile on. But as far as I know there weren't any organized gangs, with established memberships, rituals, colors, signs and insignia, and all of that.

I suspect that many of the problems may have simply been due to blacks and whites not knowing very much about each other. Early on, there were black parts of Detroit (e.g. Paradise Valley and Black Bottom) and white parts of Detroit (pretty much everywhere else). The whites didn't go into the black parts of town - especially at night - and the blacks behaved similarly. I'm not claiming that they lived in anything like separate and equal conditions, but it seemed that they did live separately.

As I remember, that began to change in the mid-fifties. Blacks prospered (along with most other Detroiters). It seems likely that living arrangements that might have seemed okay at first seemed less so later on. Blacks gained political power. (See: Black Churches ) Blacks gained economic power. ( e.g. Google "Dunbar Hospital in Detroit")

Many of the most powerful black families in Detroit seem to have ties to either the churches or the Dunbar Hospital. Some of them had ties to both. (See: Biographies ) There were other factors as well. The World War II conditions had an influence. The UAW was involved. And when the freeways were created, the construction of that part of I-75 (i.e. The Chrysler freeway) that lies between I-94 (i.e. The Ford Freeway) and Downtown Detroit wiped out large parts of the old black areas of Detroit.

So blacks began to move into what were formerly all-white areas. Confusion and culture-clashes - and sometimes violence - resulted. And whites began to flee to the suburbs. But it seems that some real integration had begun, and it continues today.

It seems that problems occurred in places like Chicago when groups that formerly lived apart began to live together. It seems that roughly the same thing also happened in Detroit.

Detroit Rest In Peace

RIP BEAR (Denny Dowling) a former member of the Zulus Motorcycle Club of Detroit. You are missed.

RIP In Memory of Tom Rudd, Mendoza brothers 3, and Bob the Mad Eater buried 4-19-2002

RIP Bernie Campell - Zulus MC

RIP Steve Gronas - Flips/Kontinental Kruisers

RIP Richard "Rick" Brandenburg - Zulus MC

RIP Slappy Jack - A long-time member of The Stilettoes Nostalgia Club. Even after he retired from The Stilettoes, he was an integral part of the group. He was loved by many and will be deeply missed.

RIP Doug Smith - Brother of Mike "Scrub", was a long-time participant at the The Stilettoes events. He will be deeply missed.

RIP GARY "KRUSER" KRUSE - THE STILETTOES 50' NOSTALGIA MEMBER 1984 - 2013. It is with deep regret that we inform our Stilettoes family and friends that Gary "Kruser" Kruse has lost his battle with cancer Saturday - February 23, 2013. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. Gary was a proud Stilettoe from 1984 until his untimely death. He will truly be missed.

RIP Tim Howard of Renville and Arnold Street Detroit. Neighborhood guy who died way to young. I wish I would have been mature enough to understand your fight.

RIP Geno DeAndre of Renville Street Detroit. Neighborhood kid died way to young.

RIP Charles Moody of Renville Street Detroit.

Detroit Gangs 1985 to today

a Latino gang comprised mostly of Mexican and Puerto Ricans with some whites. They wear red and black and are People Nation. (Latin counts came to Detroit from Chicago in the 80s).main turf is Toledo street with counts also around Gilbert Street and Livernois and Regular area, and Del ray. Gibert and Livernois Counts were known as the Square Boy Counts.
a Mexican gang originating from los Angeles Surenos aka sur 13 started appearing in Detroit around the late 90s but didn?t get big until 2001/2002. They wear blue and gray and wear belts n hats to the right (as they have an alliance with a folk nation) Their main turf is around Patton Park, Woodmere and Falcon Street area, and the Otis and Hammond Street area
a folk nation gang that is probably the most diverse with blacks, whites, Mexicans, and Puerto Ricans they wear blue and black and hats, belts to the right side, Folk Nation. Their main turf is McGraw Ave from I-94 to West Warren, and the Woodmere cemetery area.
a people nation gang mostly of Mexicans and Puerto Ricans as do all other people nation gangs they wear gold (yellow) and black as well as hats n belts to the left side.
a gang not affiliated with folks or people and in fact made up their own nation the Family Nation members are mixed as well their colors are baby blue and symbols include a tee pee type symbol with 3 dots on top, CFP. Turf include Pitt and Stair street area, and Central Ave. and Navy area.
a folk nation gang that consist of Mexicans and Puerto Ricans like the counts cobras came to Detroit during the 80s from Chicago. Colors are green and black as well as hats, belts to the right symbols include a 6 point star, 6 dots, a cobra, SC, SCN.......Spanish cobras were big during the early 90s but after the Detroit leader of the cobras killed the son of a Detroit police officer the Detroit police cracked down on all gangs and the cobras faded.
They started out in the area of Lawndale and Michigan in 1989 as a local gang unaffiliated with the People or the Folks. They had a huge mural on the wall of the 7-11 Bar on Michigan and Lawndale, and they had a clubhouse near the corner of Arnold and Lawndale.Their rivals were the Waldo Rats and the Camel Boys Incorporated.

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