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Simon City Royals and Simon City Gang

Simon City Royals

Original Simon City gang Sweater

I was Simon City & Simon City Royals. We never thought of SCR Royals as being new or different. We carried Insane Royals for a while when Bimbo was alive.

The origins of the Simon City Royals as told by those members who lived it.

The Simon City Royals were founded in the Lakeview area of Chicago circa 1968. A spin-off of the much older Simon?s City name originating from Simons Park, the Royals recruited new members from the area as well as from local gangs who were attending Lakeview high school. The first established section was at Ashland and Irving Park Rd. where their leader, Arab, held court in the local eatery located across the street from the high school. Several of the founders were former members of the Aristocrats, The Corps, and Ashland Vikings among others. A second section was founded in the small park on the S.W. corner of Greenview and Waveland. Their colors became royal blue and black. It should be mentioned here that the original Simon?s City retained their name and did not embrace the Royals title as part of their own. The gangs continued as two separate entities in different parts of Chicago for decades to come. The Royals grew fast in the Lakeview area, especially since the Latin Eagles of the time had a habit of attacking white non-gang members. Many of those individuals then sought protection and camaraderie under the new Royals banner. Several more had problems with Latin gangs on the other flanks and they eventually came aboard too.

By the early 1970?s, the Royals were beginning to slowly lose a turf war against their rivals. While the ?turf? was still claimed, it was now in dispute and Royals had a difficult time simply walking unmolested through certain parts of their own neighborhood. The main section had moved control to the area of Newport and Lincoln / Paulina and Cornelia. Another section was started further north on Paulina St., just south of Irving Park Road. This section became known as ?The Barracks? due to the architectural nature of their hangout behind an apartment building.

It was about this time in late 1972 & 1973 when the Royals used a new recruiting tool. The smaller corner gangs of the area were approached and formed into a confederation to become known as the North Side Aces. Some of the younger 15 & 16 year-old members of the Royals were shifted to the Aces to provide a foundation to build upon. Their colors were royal blue/gold, and affiliation to the Simon City Royals was automatic. They now had a semi-permanent toehold over 90% of the formerly disputed streets and a solid alliance within their boundaries. While those borders zigzagged somewhat, the Royals could now claim in earnest their turf extended west to east, from Ravenswood to Racine Ave. and from just beyond Irving Park in the north, to well beyond Belmont in parts to the south.

Mere months after the formation of the N.S. Aces, a three week old ceasefire treaty was violated by the Deuces. When that war resumed, the Aces were officially absorbed into the Royals fold. Overnight the Aces were no more. Although somewhat dispersed, the Simon City Royals could now field over one hundred active members in the Lakeview area at any given time.

The original founding members were mostly off the streets in the early 70?s but were still active. Arab and company could almost always be found in the pool hall on Ashland near School Street. Some of the younger members often hung out next door by a local hamburger joint.

1974 was a rough year for the Royals. Attacks came from all sides as they firmly stood their ground in another vicious and bloody turf war. Fighting was an almost daily occurrence and shootings became more commonplace. The Royals lost several members to gunfire including the sniper shooting of their founder Arab. In spite of what may have looked like a losing battle to some, the Royals continued to grow and expand. The Royals presence was becoming widely known in other schools and neighborhoods outside the Lakeview area. They also increased in numbers among the student bodies at select schools such as Lane Tech and Gordon Tech.

Additional Claims

An ex-Corp member disbutes the claim that ex-Corp members helped start the Simon city Royals.

One of the original founding members of the Simon city Royals - Arab - was originally a Simon City Boys member until his family moved up to Clark Street. It is said that in the new neighborhood, he started the Simon City Royals.

History of Chicago's Simon City Royals!

Simon City Royal's gang card

The most prominent new section, and the only sanctioned section, outside the Lakeview area at the time was established at Roosevelt high school. Originally called Lawrence and Kimball, they very soon became known as the Leland and St. Louis Royals for the corner they actually hung out on. Founded by two members from The Barracks, the Roosevelt Royals lingered without much organization at first. A new leader, Bimbo, came up from the ranks at Paulina and Cornelia to fill the role. Bimbo was an older brother to Tuffy, a very popular young soldier who was unfortunately shot to death by rivals only months later on Paulina Street. Bimbo was a successful recruiter and had a modest amount of success in calming several feuding white street gangs in the area. Under the guise of truces and in the name of friendships, petty warring had stopped and members began to talk peacefully to one another on ‘neutral’ Royals turf. Only at Leland and St. Louis could one find visiting members of the Gaylords and Popes not throwing fisticuffs on sight. That in itself was something which had been previously unheard of for many years. Until that time, the Simon City Royals had maintained a mostly independent posture. Choosing not to unite with other citywide gangs of the era, but personal friendships with members of non-warring factions was always permitted and, those in fact did exist on a rather large scale.

All that ended in early 1975 following the shooting death of Bimbo at the hands of the Latin Kings. Without Bimbo as the catalyst, immediately friendships began to crumble as old sides were drawn. The Royals had officially unified with the Popes, some members left, while others went off on their own to start up non-sanctioned/rogue sections in other areas.

Many tried to play the role of section leaders, but were sorely lacking in the street skills it took to actually be a leader. Section by section these new Royals, all for the sake of making a name for themselves, started fights with gangs in other areas they probably shouldn’t have. By the end of 1975 they had successfully alienated many of their former old friends and the Simon City Royals as a whole were now at war with most of them.

1976 and 1977 were pivotal years in Royals history. The face of the gang was undergoing rapid changes throughout the city. While some of the older or smaller sections faded with the passage of time, some of the newer branch sections had held on and were finally growing stronger. The minor crimes such as tagging (graffiti), petty shoplifting, disorderly conduct, the occasional stolen car etc, were now escalating into things such as drug dealing and full time burglary rings. Guns, which used to be handled by a select few on rare occasions, now played a more significant role in the everyday lives of their members. More members meant more crime and thus more arrests. The Royals now began to make more inroads within the prison gang systems. By 1980, what are today often called “The Old Royals” from ’68 to’74 were all but gone from under the SCR banner. The majority either had joined earlier with others based on their street principles and ideologies, or retired and made new lives for themselves. A good number were either incarcerated or had met an untimely death. Very few if any of the new Royals had any real ties to their predecessors of the late 60’s and early 70’s. This meant some unusual alliances with former rivals that would have had departed Royals rolling in their graves. This was the beginning of the People/Folks factions of the next era.

D W Royals - Bruno:

I know that the DW Royals? were a relatively small branch (set in today's terms) with probably a solid 40 + soldiers on any given day holding down the corner. Our strength and weakness though came from our Midgets, Pee Wee's & Jr's which totaled about 50. The Seniors held down DW and the lil guys held down Allen St, where our murals were.

We were alive, active and growing from 72 - 78. I was soldier from 72 - 75 and then became a warlord in 75 after our then Warlord (Nelson M.) had to leave the country. He kicked my ass ROYAL and gave me the responsibility. I didn't want the job but ran w/it anyway. Didn't realize how much responsibility it really was or how truly dangerous it was, but looking back now, i laugh and cry at times thinking about it. It?s good to alive!

Back then the warlord was also the branch leader and I asked Lil Joe (aka Joe Kidd) to run it w/me. We did it all together, everything from deciding who had the right to pack to who would do what. We were organized.....had income, dues, an apartment/clubhouse, lawyers, nurses, you name it. Anyway, I'll gladly share what I can and look for the same from you, always a ROYAL.

Additional Research

The first newspaper article on the Chicago newspaper database at the Chicago Public Library is about the death of Arab in 1974. There are no prior Simon City Royal gang articles prior to that one. After talking to ex-Simon City Boys, Aristocrat, and CORP gang members, they agree that the first Simon City Royals section was around Clark Street in Lakeview in the late sixties. Above it was stated that Arab was a member of Simon City and carried the name up to Lakeview when he moved up there with his family. There is no record of Simon City Royals in Humboldt Park in the sixties. There was newspaper articles as well as Rising Up Angry articles about the Simon City gang as far back to the mid sixties.