The C-Notes have a long and colorful history, dating back to the 1950’s. Their first corner was Ohio & Leavitt and they wore green in reference to the color of money, as well as their Italian heritage. With ‘C-Note’ being slang for one hundred dollars, they chose the hundred dollar bill and dollar sign as their symbols. Their slogan is, ‘God made love. God made pain. God made C-Notes crazy and insane.’ Some end it with, ‘almighty and insane.’
They were an all White gang with fierce White Power beliefs. After their birth, the C-Notes steadily grew. By the 1970’s, they had branches all around Smith Park on corners such as Superior & Washtenaw, Huron & Rockwell, Erie & Leavitt, and of course their largest branch at Ohio & Leavitt. Smith Park borders a huge train yard and I’ve heard a lifetime’s worth of stories about how the C-Notes kidnap their victims, bring them to the tracks and torture or kill them there. I’m sure most of the stories are just that, stories. But you can’t hear about it as many times as I have, over as many years as I have, without there being some truth to it.
By the early 1980’s, the C-Notes’ presence in the Smith Park area was rapidly diminishing due to the overwhelming Latino immigration. C-Notes stands for, ‘Chicago National Organization To Eliminate Spics.’ So you can imagine how well the ‘snots’, as we like to call them, got along with their new neighbors. As fate would have it, while they fought the war for Smith Park, the C-Notes discovered a never-ending supply of new recruits. It was called Harlem Avenue.
Harlem is a busy street on the western edge of the city. From the city limits up north at Touhy, down past the mafia-owned car dealerships and restaurants all the way to the western suburb of Elmwood Park where many of Chicago’s mafia bosses live, the residents along Harlem are overwhelmingly Italian. Once the C-Notes got their foot in the area, their numbers exploded. Their main branch off Harlem was Normandy & Belden and they also had smaller branches at Harlem & Addison and Olcott & Rosco. But even with all the new recruits, it wasn’t enough. The C-Notes were losing the war for Harlem to the Gaylords and Freaks. Once again though, fate stepped in.
Jefferson Park is the name of the neighborhood, park, bus station, El stop, railroad station and everything else in the area. The neighborhood is huge and due to the train, bus, El, Milwaukee Ave. and expressway all intersecting in the same spot, JP is a central hub for all the neighborhoods surrounding it. Once the C-Notes took control of JP from the Popes after a ten-year war, their numbers exploded. JP even sent soldiers all the way down to Ohio & Leavitt to help save their motherland, which they did. Even though they were hanging by a thread at a few points in history, the C-Notes have held Smith Park nonstop from the mid 50’s, up to and including the time this book was written.
Now in 1984, the C-Notes only had about 20 hardcore members left at OL. NB was completely erased by the Sayre Park Gaylords. HA and OR were fighting a losing war against the Freaks from Hiawatha and Shabbona Parks, as well as the Gaylords from DP and MN. The C-Notes’ last remaining stronghold was Jefferson Park. Just like at Smith Park, they created a half dozen branches in the shape of a ring, like outposts surrounding their neighborhood. These sections included Cicero & Gunnison, Argyle & Lavergne, Carmen & Lavergne and the actual park itself, Jefferson Park.
Still, the C-Notes are all but doomed. They have no allies because they were the only gang in Chicago that refused to join either alliance, People or Folks. Instead, they started their own alliance and called it ‘Family’, as in the mafia family. Because of that, they were at war with every gang in the city. Why would anyone be crazy enough to join a gang knowing they were at war with everyone? That sheds some insight into their character and personality. C-Notes didn’t mind being different, outnumbered and alone. They were tough and cocky like that.