"Hidden city in the Bay Area" Alviso by ChuckG

Alviso Travel Guide: 50 reviews and 58 photos

Go see Alviso !

My first ever time in California, I ended up lost in Alviso at night with no clue how to get out. There are not many roads leading there.

2 years later, I had to go back to see where it is and what is there ! It's a very old town and many buildings from the Far West era are still preserved. The northern part of town is very close to the water and some buildings have sunk in the Bay.

A view of Alviso by a local: (sjunderbelly.com)

"Alviso. An unexpected pearl at the bitter end of the bay. It was once the Port of Entry into San Jose, crowded with steamboats and stagecoachs. It is a spectacularly unaffected town, a last refuge from encroaching San Jose. But it's going fast. The markateers have landed, and the loot is being spread.

Alviso became a part of San Jose in 1968. Many sources say it was annexed. The Alisoans I talked to, including former mayor Tom Laine, are adamant that it was consolidated, and they are correct. It was an arrangement intended to be mutually beneficial. San Jose was to get the land it needed to treat sewage and dump garbage, and Alviso was to accrue the benefits of San Jose's services - police, street maintenance, etcetera. So much for the best laid plans.

Like the proverbial red-headed step-child, Alviso got the short end of the stick. Services have not been forthcoming. It took 12 years just to get the streets paved. On March 24, 1973, Alvisoans set up a toll booth on the Gold Street Bridge in a publicity stunt to get corrupt San Jose politicians to take notice - cars were charged .25 cents to pass.

Decades of land subsidence caused Alviso to sink fifteen feet. Levees are now required to keep the bay out. The town has been called "Little Venice." Lowering of the water table occurred on account of the gluttonous use of well water by surrounding communities.

The town was recently showcased in the August 20 edition of the Metro.
The story describes the transformation of Alviso from a small village into a generic adjunct of the Techno Weinees on the other side of Highway 237 - soulless business parks, prettified business.
Jan 1999: Hwy 237 has been crossed, San Jose barbarians have commenced building tall boxes to block out the sun and foul the bay.

Jan 2002: $700,000 homes

Alviso has buckets of mystery and charm. The geography is ethereal. God protect it from San Joseans who would turn it into an unholy blend of Sunnyvale business and Willow Glen sissified downtown.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Not your typical Silicon Valley city
  • In a nutshell:For the adventurers !
  • Intro Updated Jan 12, 2006
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Reviews (19)

Comments (3)

  • Oct 29, 2007 at 1:06 AM

    My mom and dad used to live in this house. He was a tenant. Fred Raynor was his land lord. Creepy, my dad used to tell me stories about this place but i never believed him.

  • Oct 11, 2007 at 11:34 AM

    can some one tell me where this house is in alviso

  • Geisha_Girl's Profile Photo
    Jan 6, 2006 at 1:10 AM

    Oui, Oui ! Jai dragué des LadyBoys dans un restaurant vraiment bien. Ils/elles veulent aller danser avec toi dans Le Dirty Martini!! ;-))

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