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Drawbridge 1999, graying and decaying. The cabin in the foreground is The Gordon Gun Club built in 1880. It was the first building constructed in Drawbridge after the bridge tenders cabin (1876).
Note the Dutch "curved" roof. Some say it was constructed by a ship's captain to resemble the cabin on his ship. Another story has it that a couple of railroad men built it in the form of an early train car. Like many of the duck clubs in Drawbridge, it had two rooms. One room was a combination kitchen/living room and the other the bedroom or bunkroom.
It is miraculous that any of these buildings are standing. For years, vandals have been skulking into Drawbridge, setting fire to the buildings, and pillaging anything not previously pillaged .
The pillaging commenced when people were still living in Drawbridge - due in large measure to the skullduggery of The Mercury News. For years the Murky News printed stories about The Ghost Town in the Bay, saying that inhabitants had moved out, leaving valuable antiques and belongings behind in their cabins. In fact, people had not moved out. The cabins have been plundered continuously ever since. Most have been burned.
In addition to the "abandoned" story. Newspaper articles were written in the 1940's, 1950's, and 1960's depicting the people of Drawbridge as low-life gamblers, gangsters, and prostitutes. As Oscar Wilde once quipped, "You can't believe half the lies people tell about me."
In 1906, Drawbridge had grown to 79 cabins (private residences and duck clubs) and two hotels.
In 1926, Drawbridge was in full flower with approximately 90 cabins, and had five passenger trains a day.
Beginning in the late 1920's, excessive pumping of fresh water by surrounding communities would cause subsidence of the land and fouling of deep wells. Like Alviso to the south, Drawbridge began to sink. The railroad and cabins were in constant need of "heightening."
In addition to land subsidence, raw sewage from San Jose was affecting the sloughs. Fish and foul abandoned the marshes. The diked salt evaporation ponds prevented natural cleansing by the tides.
In 1940, 50 cabins remained. The smell of raw sewage in the sloughs discouraged any thought of swimming.
In 1967, drawbridge consisted of 42 taxed residences and
a population of 25.