Historical Atlas of Santa Clara County - 1876

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In 1876, the Guadalupe River meandered into the bay via Guadalupe Slough. The Guadalupe has changed course coutless times over the millenia. Alviso (Steamboat) Slough and Guadalupe Slough are both conduits the Guadalupe has taken to the bay. Both sloughs flow into Coyote Creek . . . which empties into San Francisco Bay.

Around 1900, Alvisoans, horses, and Madisen Scrapers scooped out a ditch to allow the Guadalupe River to flow into Steamboat Slough . . . a more efficient route for shipping.

Rivers are constantly shifting, forming ox-bow lakes and cut-off islands. They change course at an alarming rate. The Mississippi River, for instance, is desperately trying to change its course away from New Orleans. It is held in check only by the Army Corps of Engineers and high levees.

Many people make mock of the diminutive nature of the Guadalupe River. It is not a raging torrent, but it does have character. It provides sanctuary for the leisured indigents who nestle on its banks. It bisects the grand metropolis of San Jose. History is buried on its shore.

As the song says: "See the pyramids along the Nile."

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