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Kewpees Mascot
Kewpees Mascot

Northside Popes and Larry Larkin

Northside Insane Popes

Kolmar Popes: Larry Larkin (Click Image)

Larry Larkin Morris photo, Popes 1970s Kolmar Park (CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE)

North Side Popes: Larkin 1970s

Southside Royal Insane Popes

Chicago Royal Insane South Side Popes

Larkin's Sections

Larkin was responsible for starting the sections: Kolmar, Jefferson Park, Independence Park, and Dickenson Park. He had a great influence in the starting of the Southside Insane Popes through visiting his cousin "Donny" who lived on the Southside of Chicago in the area of 50th & Leclaire. Under Larkin’s rule: the Popes became the Insane Popes years prior to the People/Folk alliance.

Kolmar Popes

During the past several weeks, members of the Kolmar Popes have been painting over wall-paintings that they and other clubs had made on neighborhood walls in the past. For some time now they have receiving considerable harassment from certain members of the 17th district police force. Some meetings were called to try and resolve some of the contradictions between the young people in the neighborhood and the police. These didn’t go to well because the lieutenant involved treated the brothers like kids, demanded to know everyone’s names – wanted everything but didn’t want to give anything, and tried to dig up the out dirt from the neighborhood.

So, the Kolmar Popes, aided by some of the members of the Brands Park and Jefferson Park Popes, decided on their own campaign of cleaning up the neighborhood walls to improve their situation in the neighborhood. With the help of people in the neighborhood and the Belding-Kolmar Civic Organization, they issued a leaflet to the people of the neighborhood informing them that if they had any spray-can defacement on their buildings that members of the Popes would provide paint and labor to cover it up. And they did just that; while many people didn’t seem to care about the club names on the walls and placed signs saying, “this project was carried out by the NEW POPES”. One older woman in the community, after getting her garage painted, gave a fist and said Pope thang!

The Popes told Rising Up Angry that things are better in the neighborhood now, the police have stopped bothering us as much, and we’re talking about organizing a community picnic with live music in the park.



Southside Insane Popes

The Southside Popes started out as the Diablo's which used w/ Black and Pink as their color's. That did not fly. A short time later they became the Royal Insane Pope's. That's how R.I.P. as the initial's came to be. The Royal was added because of the Affiliation with the Simon City Royal's of the North Side. Donny was responsible for starting the Popes on the Southside.

South Side Insane Popes 1980's

South Side Insane Popes 1980's Picture

click on image to enlarge

Kool City Popes

Kool City was the area: Pulaski to Kilbourn and 47th to a few blocks past Archer Avenue. In that area there was two sets: Archer-Pulaski (Archer Park) and the original Kool-City. Side Tracks was 51st and Kilpatrick. The Vittum Park POPES were across Cicero. Then by Normandy Park from 51st to 63rd was Popes. By Hale School (63rd Normandy in Oak Park to 83rd Street) was a neighborhood shared by the Popes and 12th Street Players which rode with the Kool-City name.

Larry "Larkin" Morris RIP Patch

Larry Larkin Morris RIP Patch

Larkin Popes Grease Card

Larkin Popes Grease


On Archer-Pulaski you had Curie H.S. -Mr sub -MT Pindos Restaurant -Funzone game room -shortstop pizza-lil hot dog place and then on Archer-Komensky you had the Miami bowl the birthplace of all South Side Popes we all can trace our roots to that hood cause either you were from there our you got turned out by somebody from there or they turned your hood out and you got plugged but it all boiled down to that place- that place been gone for years but the Popes are still out there in different hoods there’s still some presence in that hood but nothing compared to back in the days and even before that when Buffalo-JB-Dutch-Wizard-and all the original Popes were out there. That hood was the Popes stronghold Archer Park –Edwards School all in that hood was dozen of party spots lot of good times and a lot of banging for the nation was done over there - all is left is the memories of those good times -IPN TILL THE END

History of Royal Insane Popes

1974....this was just about the time when the young savages broke up and the Spanish Cobras were all moving up to the north side...Once upon a time there was this group of people that hung around together a lot...When the idea first came up from rusty that we should have a some kind of name because everywhere we would go people are always asking "who are you guys"....nobody really wanted to form a club because for the first time in years things got kind of quiet in the hood.....but that fucking rusty couldn't speak loud but had a way of getting his point across....his main point was always that if we were going to continue hanging around together everyone is going to think were a gang anyways so we better have are shit together right it began, the search to figure out who we would become....The meetings took place down in crazy franks make a long story short, this was rusty way to make it easy on us and have a fresh start...we would call ourselves the royal Insane Popes...he came up with that because he used to live in sleepy hollow and some of his friends were "insane popes" and he liked the name and asked those guys if it would be ok...they liked idea because they knew we would be united the word Royal was added just so everyone would know there was a difference in the clubs.....this meant we needed different colors also, black and white was decided because the Chancellors just broke up and those were their old colors...

The reason I wrote this and sent it in is because I was shocked to learn how big and how long the club has been around...if you were ever part of the Royal Insane Popes that came out of Miami Bowl on Archer Ave. this is your true roots, and these are the guys that started it all just because nobody should have that much fun alone.....


pedro "rican"
Donny "Buffalo"
Joe "Big joe"
Richard "rusty"
Franky "Crazy frank"
John "Ray ray"
Al "J.C."
Joe "Elvis"
Tom "Tiny"
Marty "Crazy marty"

Rest In Peace - Lil Mick

Lil Mick of the Insane Popes Rest In Peace

Logan Square Popes

Beginning around 1974, there was another section of Popes known as the "Logan Square Popes" or "Troy St. Popes". There were approximately 10 members in this section and they were primarily greasers. Their area of concentration was from Logan Blvd. to Diversey Ave (north/south) and Troy St. to Kedzie Ave (east/west). The leader of this club was "Wop", who attended Schurz High School, and who I believe was friends with Larkin and other Kolmar/Independence Popes. I believe Larkin also attended Schurz, or at least hung around Schurz from time-to-time. This section represented the light blue & black colors and the neighborhood had Pope graffiti everywhere. Their sweaters had chops below the shoulders.

The Logan Square Popes dissolved sometime in late 1975/early 1976. This was in part due to the tragic death of Larkin, which seemed to be an eye-opening experience for everyone who claimed membership in this club..

Royal Insane Popes

I was in the R.I.P. starting in the early 70s after they moved to Archer & Pulaski after Curie High School was built I joined about 1 or 2 years later around 1973 or 1974 I was also in (the Belt Boys). The Belt Boys were named after the belt... Rail lines where they use to hang out by the rail tracks. Those same young men later moved to Vittum Park and called their name "Insane Popes". That was after the (spanish Cobras) vacated Vittum Park. I was also hanging out with the Belt boys for a short when I was very young. So there was the R.I.P on archer & pulaski, and there was our brother gang of Vittum Park Insane Popes. I was a proud member of the Royal Insane Popes.

Almighty Kolmar Popes

Larkin President of the Insane Popes

A former North Side Pope:

Larkin came to live with our family in the suburbs. He tried to find work which was hard without a car. He did find work and would walk to work a couple of miles each way. Then it got cold and he lost his job. He was pretty bummed and moved back to the city. That is when I lost track of him.

Larkin President of Almighty Popes

Larkin President of the Chicago Popes

Larkin: President from 1973 - 1975

Larkin Ruled the Popes from 1973 through 1975. Larkin had natural leadership ability and was responsible for the tremendous growth that the Popes experienced in the early 1970’s. Larkin stood over 6’ tall and weighted over 200 lbs. He was big into weight lifting and health.   

Independence Park Insane Popes

Larking Popes

Larkin's Name

Larkin got his name while hanging out at Six Corners when he took a hit off of a cigarette and choked. The other Popes that were with him at the time started to call him Larkin after the Lark cigarette. The name stuck with Larkin from that day forward.

Mayfair Insane Popes

Mayfair Insane Popes

Next time I heard anything about him. My mom is screaming at me as I got out of my car: “Where the hell have you been? Were you in the city?” I said “No, why?” She said “Larry had just been shot to death!” That was too bad because Larry was like a brother to me. He kept me from getting into drugs. Larkin hated drug use and smoking. He was always lifting and eating well. I would lift to. He didn’t mind drinking, but he seemed to have a low tolerance to alcohol, kind of like he was an Indian.

Almighty Dickenson Popes - Stone Grease

Larking Popes

I remember Larkin going up to the Mayfair Popes and kicking some of their butts because he had heard they were sniffing tolley and f-king up. I think his aversion to drugs is what caused some of his conflict towards other clubs. He was strong headed and could not stand druggies. He called them pimps and probably liked to knock them around.

Lawrence and Rockwell Popes

Neighborhood Demographics: Greek and Bulgarian

It is believed by many that the Lawrence and Rockwell Insane Popes were started by Larkin. This is untrue. The Lawrence and Rockwell set was started by Slaughterhouse, a Greek with dual citizenship in both the U.S. and Greece. Slaughterhouse was a good friend of Larkin. The Lawrence and Rockwell Popes were Greek, and were known as tough street fighters who did not know the meaning of defeat. Later, Slaughterhouse would return to his native country of Greece and die while serving in the Greek Army.

Lawrence and Rockwell Popes

Lawrence and Rockwell Popes

A Chicago Tribune 1980 article referred to the Ravenswood gangs as the "Greek Popes" and the Latin Kings. The Greek Popes were suppose to be fighting the Latin Kings at that time.

Greek Popes - The Greater Rockwell Organization

The Greek community brought color and commercial vitality to the area in the 1960s, but it also ultimately spawned the Greek Popes, a street gang. In the mid-1970s large groups of young men decided that the corner of Lawrence and Rockwell was their property, and as many as 80 of them at a time could be seen hanging out there, according to Bob. Graffiti started to appear everywhere, and especially on garages under the L tracks, and it magically returned as fast as residents could paint over it. Bob remembers having to paint over graffiti several times a week. Brawls between the Popes and the Latin Kings, or with rival Greek gangs, broke out on Leland Avenue and Maplewood. Gun shots became common. The police were kept busy arresting gang members at the Parthenon, a Greek tavern, where they were commonly armed with knives and firearms.

The people who had lived in the community for decades, however, refused to give up and move away. With the help of the Ravenswood Community Council (then known as the Ravenswood Conservation Commission), a group of residents lead by Harriet O'Donnell met in 1976 to start a new organization called the Rockwell Task Force. The Task Force members painted over graffiti, went to court against gang members, and even started hanging out on street corners across from gang hangouts in order to send some intimidation in the other direction. The organization offered a $100 reward for any victim who was willing to sign a complaint and testify in court. Within a few months, with the help of the police and the courts, the Popes were beaten into submission, both figuratively and, well, literally, by police, who were known to use their night sticks to whack errant shins.

In 1979 the task force decided to become independent of the RCC and was chartered as a block club, the Greater Rockwell Organization. David Clark served as the first president of GRO. Residents eventually learned to expect monthly meetings and a monthly newsletter, and captains were sought for each block in the community. The first meeting was at Bob and Marie Colvin's home, and A. J. Lange joined the board in September of 1979. Pat Pfaff, John Schwenk's daughter, was a founding member and early leader.

Much of the efforts of the members of GRO have, over the years, involved responding to gangs and crime. After suppressing the Popes, gangs were hanging out in the neighborhood again from 1983 to 1985, and once more from 1989 to about 1994. Each time the gangs were driven off by determined neighbors. Most recently gang members were chased away from Rockwell and Leland, and then from Gross Park. In 1989 and 1990, whenever a gang member faced a trial, as many as 15 adults would show up in court to show their support to the victim, to press the judge for action, and to intimidate the defendants. GRO's court watch program became a model for other community groups in the city, and on October 27, 1990, Cook County State's Attorney Cecil Partee recognized the organization's “Outstanding Contribution in the Fight Against Gang Crime” at a ceremony at the University of Illinois.

Polish Popes

There was a short lived group of Popes on the north side that we called the Polish Popes.They claimed the Milwaukee and Devon woods area. I remember about six of them at the start and they went to Lane.Kolmar went up to hang with them a few times.Their leaders name was Mark K.

We had lot of down Polish Popes thru the years. Since the beginning -there was a few Polish crews on the Southside that some of their guys turned Popes -Southside Polish Party Boys - Polacks with Attitudes - and there was the Polish Disciples from by 5 Holy Martyrs Church. They were faded out in mid 80s.

Pope Sweater

North Side Chicago Popes SweaterEven before I became a member of the Popes ; it was the Almighty Popes. The Insane part was bit of nonsence that Larry, Outlaw, Me and Work-Boot invented when We where walking from spray-painting Almighty Popes behind the Sears on Six-Corners. After all of the spraying We where drinking a qrt. of beer and probably high from the paint fumes We made it to Irving Park. Road to look at Our handywork. We were so impressed with ourselves, that we started to yell INSANITY TO THE MAX, and the that's when the INSANE part of our signiture started! Our ages at the time ranged from 14 to 16 years of age!

Rest In Peace - Mick - Insane Popes

Mozart Street Popes

The Mozart St. Popes (Diversey & Mozart), developed around that time and consisted of 6-8 members, including Wop's cousin. This section eventually dissolved after a 1-2 year run sometime in 1977 due to white flight and the never ending influx of spanish clubs into the area.

Also between 1975-1976, there was a polish contingent of 5-6 Popes just south of Logan blvd., between California & Kedzie, which included 2 polish brothers who were tough greasers. This group faded out around the same time as the Mozart St. section.

Based upon the research I have done, these sections are hardly ever acknowledged, and as long as there are websites recording this information, I think it should be part of the historical record.