Man, the things you can find on Wikipedia! Somebody recently showed me this link for an article on the Collyer brothers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collyer_brothers. Here's an excerpt.
On March 21, 1947, an anonymous tipster phoned the 122nd Police Precinct and insisted there was a dead body in the house. A patrol officer was dispatched, but had a very difficult time getting into the house at first. There was no doorbell or telephone and the doors were locked; and while the basement windows were broken, they were protected by iron grillwork. Eventually, an emergency squad of seven men had no choice but to begin pulling out all the junk that was blocking their way and throw it out onto the street below. The brownstone's foyer was packed solid by a wall of old newspapers, folding beds and chairs, half a sewing machine, boxes, parts of a wine press and numerous other pieces of junk. A patrolman, William Barker, finally broke in through a window into a second-story bedroom. Behind this window lay, among other things, more packages and newspaper bundles, empty cardboard boxes lashed together with rope, the frame of a baby carriage, a rake, and old umbrellas tied together. After a two-hour crawl he found Homer Collyer dead, wearing just a tattered blue and white bathrobe.
Firefighters even refer to an overly packed home as a "Collyer mansion"!
Then there's Edmund Trebus. "Eccentric and tenacious hoarder whose loads of rubbish brought him television fame."
I may do another "installment" on these types of historical packrats when I find more really good examples.