|Circa 1880. The South Pacific Coast Railroad steams towards Newark. Steamboats and schooners ply Steamboat Slough.|
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In 1838, the Mexican Governor, Juan Bautista Alvarado, granted the land that was to become Alviso (Rincon de los Esteros Rancho) to Ignacio Alviso. Ignacio was part of the merry band of adventurers, led by Captain Juan Bautista de Anza, who first trooped into the area in 1776. Evidence suggests they stopped at Vahl's for dinner and drinks.
The townsite of Alviso was laid out in December 1849 by Chester S. Lymon for its promoters, Jacob Hoppe, Charles Marvin, Kimball Dimmick, and Robert Neligh. December 1849 also saw the arrival of the first steamboat, Sacramento (reportedly an old scow with an engine in it). Jacob was later scalded to death when the steamboat Jenny Lind exploded in 1853. Steamboat explosions being a common occurrence in those days.
The town was incorporated in 1852. Alviso was the primary junction between San Francisco and San Jose for the transportation of goods and people. That ended in 1864 with the completion of the San Francisco-San Jose Railroad which bypassed Alviso - faster, less expensive.
In 1876, the narrow-gauge South Pacific Coast Railroad bisected Alviso. Alvisoans were still mad at the San Francisco-San Jose Railroad, and would not allow the train to stop in Alviso - except to drop off mail.
Prior to the Spanish arriving, the area was inhabited by Ohlone Indians - who had been living there for several thousand years or so. So many stories lost in time.