Alviso, California

Located at the southern end of the San Francisco Bay, Alviso is an old port town with a dried up marina. Over a hundred years ago Alviso was San Jose's shipping port, and after the railway made the port less vital, it became a major cannery town. The Bayside Cannery, still standing, is said to have been the third largest cannery in America in 1920. It was operated by Thomas Foon Chew, who became known as the Asparagus King, due to innovations made at this cannery. Foon died in 1931 and the cannery closed soon afterwards. Due to the heavy draw on the groundwater of San Jose, Alviso has sunk an estimated 13 feet, and is now protected by levees. Most of Alviso is now below sea level, and has been flooded several times. Some of the older buildings have been moved to higher ground. In 1968, Alviso ceased to be an independent city, when residents voted to become part of the city of San Jose. The Gold Street Pump Station takes water that is collected through the storm drains of the Alviso area and pumps it over the levee into the bay. Alviso's marina silted up due to flood control measures, such as deepening an adjacent slough, and the prohibitive expense of dredging the marina. Docks and even some boats are stranded in the drying marsh. Though Silicon Valley's office park developments are encroaching, the town retains some of its original character, and some buildings over 150 years old are still standing. Alviso is a National Register Historic District included in the National Register of Historic Places.