It’s time for another look at Alviso, a historic San Francisco Bay Area town. It’s a small community of about 2000 residents and has a mix of time-worn and well-kept vintage homes, authentic Mexican restaurants, decaying abandoned factories, and long-gone businesses. Silicon Valley development goes on around the town but not much in it. Despite its worn appearance, the unchanged character of Alviso draws me back time after time.

A missing door at the Bayside Canning Company.

Earlier this year, I posted a story about the Bayside Canning Company you can read about here. In that post, Bayside Canning Company Blues, I had focused on the street-front wooden structure of the cannery. On this visit, I explored the exterior of the dilapidated warehouse and backside of the cannery from a safe distance behind a chainlink fence.

Time has taken a toll on the cannery which closed its doors in 1936. What’s left today is the shell of the warehouse, missing and broken doors, a collapsed roof on the wooden structure, and signs that nature has taken root in the empty spaces. Yet, I see beauty in the soft golden colors that cover the cement structure, in the geometric shapes that take center stage in the hollow space, and in the soft brown patina of the wood siding. Wouldn’t you agree? Or, do you scratch your head and wonder, what’s up with beauty in decay?

Alviso 21L
Roof slowly collapsing at the Bayside Canning Company.

Just down the street from the cannery sits an abandoned houseboat rooted to dry land. While still intact, the boat is showing signs of stress with cracking, peeling, and yellow discoloration of the wood siding and railings. The soft orange-colored door with the stained glass feature, on the other hand, seems to be still holding up. With Alviso located about 13 feet below sea level, it wouldn’t take much flooding during the winter rainy season for this houseboat to be back in the water and I’m not sure it would still float.

I’ll be back to Alviso in the near future to explore more of this historic town in the South Bay.

Inspiration: Thursday Doors.

19 thoughts on “Broken

  1. Love the cutout of the broken door! Thought about your question, and I would say there’s a lot of “character” in broken down or abandoned building. Personally I think I would save the word “beauty” for something finished and appealing (does not need to be new).
    Am surprised Silicon Valley has not invaded this town yet, but goes around it. Does that mean house prices are still low there?
    Very interesting post Donna – hope you had a good July 4th!

    1. Thank you, Jesh. Good perspective on your thoughts about “beauty.” I would agree that when looking at these structures as a whole, they look rather sad. For me, it’s the patina, the colors, and textures that I find beautiful. I’d love to see someone restore and repurpose these old factories. With Alviso sitting 13 feet below sea level and prone to flooding, it’s probably not the best location for development. I like the town just the way it is right now. It has character. Thanks for stopping by!

    1. Thanks, Norm. That’s a good way of describing the beauty in this kind of decay. I’d love to see someone restore and repurpose the cannery rather than tear it down. These types of buildings keep the history alive in the town.

  2. Pictures of the Bayshore Foundry on el Dorado Street behind Vahl’s would be fascinating. If the buildings are gone or are in bad shape, I do not need to know about it.

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