S. Otis Houghton, a Congressman and veteran, buys 78 acres here and moves to North Long Beach.


Otis Houghton wasn’t just Southern California’s first Congressman, he also fought in two wars; the Mexican-American War and the Civil War.

Otis Houghton was married to not one, but two members of the famed Donner Party which traveled west in 1846. This group of settlers came through the Sierra Nevada mountains, where they were trapped during the winter and were forced to resort to cannibalism to survive.

Houghton’s first wife was Mary M. Donner, who had been part of the journey and died in 1860. While married to Mary, he served as Mayor of the City of San Jose in Northern California. After her death, Houghton went on to marry Mary’s first cousin Eliza P. Donner in 1861. From 1971 to 1975, he served in the United States Congress.

In 1898, Eliza and Otis Houghton purchased a 78 acre ranch here and moved to North Long Beach. They lived in the area until Otis died in 1914, followed by Eliza in 1922. Much of the land in North Long Beach and what is now known as Houghton Park once belonged to the Houghton Family.  

Sources we used and further reading on this era of Long Beach:

  • "Death Turns Bright Page in California History.," Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles), September 1, 1914.

  • Eliza P. Donner Houghton, The Expedition of the Donner Party and Its Tragic Fate (Chicago: A.C. McClurg and Co., 1911), 217.

Image Captions:

  1. Houghton Family Photo, East Bay Times.