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Alviso enjoyed an important position in local Silicon Valley history.  It was once a bustling port from which important products were shipped – things like mercury (quicksilver) from New Almaden, tallow, hides and grain. It was incorporated in 1852 but in 1968 became a part of San Jose.  As a bayfront community, Alviso’s residents have suffered some severe flooding in the past.  Today, though, the water front and marina are a shadow of their former selves, due to the fact that the slough is no longer dredged and vegetation has overtaken much of the marina.  Today I’ll share some photos of the Alviso Marina area which I took a few months back and hope it will encourage this site’s readers to make a trip out there and enjoy the local sites in person.

 

Alviso Marina - where San Jose meets the San Francisco Bay

 

In the photo above, you can see that boats are now surrounded by rushes and reeds rather than open water.  The next one, below, provides a view of the San Francisco Bay in the distance.

 

Alviso Marina and San Francisco Bay

 

The public shore sign seemed out of place today.

 

Alviso's Public Shore sign - but no visible shore today

 

Closer to the slough, a clear channel does remain but it’s not very deep.

Channel to the bay

 

This area is a national wildlife refuge.

 

National Wildlife Refuge

 

A little inland, it is muddy and drier than you might expect.

 

Houseboat on land in Alviso

 

Nearby, you can see the “bay mud” and water which isn’t too inviting.

 

Muddy water at the Alviso Marina in San Jose

 

The views looking east are interesting.  There are mounds of salt visible in the direction of Fremont and Hayward, but also nearer, the evaporation of water leaves a white residue of salt too.  The train tracks run through here on the way to a ghost town of an island nearby, Drawbridge (formerly a hunting hangout).

 

Salty flat in Alviso, looking east to the Contra Costa hills

 

Perhaps in years to come, the area can be revitalized, with boating and fishing once again becoming a popular past time.  I could envision lovely water front living, too, though of course any further development would have to take into consideration sensitive habitats.    For now, though, Alviso is a poorer community with great potential.  It is well worth a visit to the park and trail.  And if you have time, stop by Maria Elena’s for a fabulous lunch – just go early, as the lines can be long!

 

For related reading:
Waterfront Homes in Silicon Valley: are there any concerns? (on the Move2SiliconValley.com site)