A New York Times story last week chronicled the life of former Echo Park resident Larry Haun, described as the “carpenter’s carpenter” who earned a nationwide reputation for constructing and writing about handcrafted homes. In Echo Park, however, Haun was not only known as a skilled craftsman but a passionate supporter of Elysian Park. His love for the city’s second-largest park and its wildlife prompted him to write the book “Birds and Flowers of Elysian Park.” His introduction to the 73-page, illustrated book begins:
I remember the first time I entered Elysian Park in 1969. After finishing graduate school at Cal State L.A., we moved to Echo Park. I went for a walk up Cerro Gordo, carrying our newborn, Eric, and literally stumbled into the park. After living near a freeway for two years, I felt like we were in heaven. Now, every time I walk through Elysian Park, I am thankful for this green, sacred space in the heart of the city.
Last week, Haun died at age 80 in Oregon, where he lived after leaving Echo Park during the 1990s.
One of his long time time Echo Park acquaintances , Michael Kogan, said that Haun, who lived on Alvarado Street, was generous with his time and talents, helping neighbors with construction projects and even their Spanish. Haun also devoted much time and love to Elysian Park:
He was always so down to earth and honest, always with a good sense of humor. He loved Elysian Park – he ran there every morning for years. His little book explains his relationship to the park. Now his son, Eric, can be seen in the park in the mornings.