Downey Historical Society

Contact Information

LAasSubject Logo default decorative
12540 Rives Avenue Downey, CA 90242
Wednesday and Thursday, 10 am-2 pm; third Saturday of each month, 10 am-2 pm; and by appointment for groups; closed first and third Wednesdays during July and August and for the last two weeks of December.
Robert Thompson
Alternate Contact

Downey Historical Society

Downey Historical Society
12540 Rives Avenue
Downey, CA. 90242

Access and Management


Available to the public?
Available to outside researchers?
Reservations required?
Onsite technology available
Scholar Fee Amount
Free-will offering
Catalog System
Card Cataloging
Access procedures

Materials must be used in the library and in a responsible manner.


Archive / Collection information

The Downey Historical Society is located at the Downey History Center in Apollo Park. For more than thirty years, the society's all-volunteer staff has been gathering and preserving records and artifacts from and about the southeastern part of Los Angeles County. The society's collection includes original photographs from 1870 to the present (copy negatives, duplicate prints, or 35-mm slides are available for various images of historic and current events), postcards, artifacts of Downey's past, and local realia. The books, pamphlets, and periodicals in the library focus on Downey, Los Angeles County, and California. Among the subjects addressed are Native Americans, missions, archaeology, architecture, photography, biography, ethnology, and necrology. The holdings on Governor John Gateley Downey and on the aerospace industry are particularly strong. There are also directories for Los Angeles County dating back to 1871 and, on microfilm, the federal censuses of Los Angeles County from 1850 to 1920 and Sanborn Fire Insurance maps for the Los Angeles region. In the society's archive are a broken run of Downey newspapers from 1888 to 1917 and a complete run from 1918 to 1969. Also available are Downey school account books; insurance registers; pioneer water company records; burial and cemetery records from Downey Cemetery; Los Angeles County court dockets for the townships of Los Nietos, Downey, and Norwalk from 1873 to 1957; and Los Angeles County District Attorney's registers of arrests from 1883 to 1919.