Welcome to Alviso
Alviso, while technically a neighborhood in San Jose, is an area that still maintains a great deal of the individuality and charm that it once held as an independent city. Like much of the surrounding area, its current identity is tied closely to the technology sector and the businesses that maintain their corporate headquarters in the area. However, Alviso still clings to its rustic roots, a fact demonstrated by one look at the area.
While technology giants battle to change the world a few miles away, Alviso still boasts many homes and historic structures that date back over one hundred and fifty years. In fact, the town itself is a National Register Historic District on file with the National Register of Historic Places. Many residents enjoy spending their days working on cutting-edge innovations in various technology fields and coming home to a town that looks almost the same as it did in the late 1800s.
Lay of the Land
In its heart, Alviso is a town dominated both culturally and geographically by its proximity to the San Francisco Bay. Because Alviso is 13 feet below sea level at its lowest point, the area is a major emptying point into the bay itself. The Guadalupe River and Coyote Creek both end at Alviso, emptying into the Bay via the Alviso Slough and Mud Slough respectively.
While the populated and developed portion of the area is relatively small, with less than 2,500 total residents and around 500 total households, the area outside of the former town is extensive. The area surrounding Alviso is largely undeveloped wilderness featuring a diverse biomes encompassing several habitats. Aside from the open bay and waterway, it also features salt ponds, salt marshes, mudflats, and vernal pool habitats.
Travel into Alviso itself is somewhat limited by the surrounding location and out-of-the-way nature of the neighborhood. Public transportation is nonexistent, though the town is extremely close to highway 237. However, like much of California, no place is every truly out of the way. Several light rail stations are in close proximity to the town, and numerous highways and freeways intersect in San Jose proper, which is a mere 20 minutes away.
Alviso features one public school, George Mayne Elementary School. George Mayne has an enrollment of 520 students from kindergarten to 5th grade. The school has 21 students per full-time equivalent teacher, compared to 24 students per full-time equivalent teacher statewide.The relatively undeveloped nature of Alviso means that most of the area attractions are based on nature and the local wildlife. The Alviso Marina county park is relatively small, with a total land area of just under 19 acres. However, it does provide guests with access to several activities and close proximity to other locations within the area. These include a fully cleaned and dredged bay, multiple non-commercial piers, and extensive parking. The launch ramp at the pier also provides one of the few clear paths in the area through the salt marshes into the San Francisco Bay.
he main appeal of the park is its extensive series of walkways, hiking trails, and biking trails. These provide visitors with access to acres of undeveloped wilderness to explore and enjoy. Additionally, picnic and recreation areas are scattered throughout the park making it easy for guests to spend the day enjoying nature.
Additionally, the area also provides access to the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. It is the first urban National Wildlife Refuge and is dedicated to, among other things, protecting migratory birds and their habitat. As of 2004, the park hosts up to 280 different species of bird every year. The birds essentially use the refuge as a stopping point in their journey along the coast. Additionally, the refuge is one of the last habitats available for the endangered California clapper rail and the salt marsh harvest mouse.
Alviso is also home to the Bayside Canning Company. The facilities themselves have not been in used in a professional capacity in over one hundred years. However, it is a preserved historical site and considered a foundation of the early development of the town and of the area in general. Up until its closing during the great depression, Bayside Canning Company was the third largest canning facility in the world.