Danny Muñoz often accompanied his father on visits to Los Angeles bookstores, where Muñoz fell in love with old books and the history of Los Angeles. As an adult, he started collecting books on Los Angeles architecture and stashed away newspaper clippings in the Angeleno Heights home he shares with his partner, David Hiovich.
His passion for Los Angeles history and collecting soon filled the front parlor of their Victorian home with everything from 1889 business directories to century old photos of city maintenance crews and a copy of the 1930 Garfield High year book. Space might have been tight but Muñoz’ collection has drawn the attention of amateur and professional historians over the years. When the central library downtown was closed during the 1980s following a fire and lengthy renovation, many researchers came to Muñoz’ home to browse through his archives for hard-to-find information.
But after years of being crammed into that downtstairs parlor, Muñoz’ archive has been moved upstairs under the soaring ceilings of a renovated attic at the top of a gleaming wood staircase. Here, the 61-year-old who grew up in Echo Park spends many Sundays – his only day off from work as a restaurant waiter- organizing his archive and jotting down the title and information about each item on index cards. No computers here.
How many items does he have? Muñoz said he has never bothered to count. He continues to buy books and other items, hauling them upstairs to the approximately 1,000-square-foot archive. “I can already see that I’m going to run out of space eventually.”
Photos by The Eastsider