PAC*SJ walking tours start in Alviso

The Preservation Action Council of San Jose (PAC*SJ) began a new series of walking tours of San Jose neighborhoods this morning in Alviso.

The Alviso tour, led by Sharon McCauley, highlighted the history of formerly-independent Alviso as the “gateway to San Jose” in the days before the railroad linked Santa Clara Valley communities with San Francisco and points beyond. Highlights included the South Bay Yacht Club (active since 1888) and the Bayside Canning Company, one of the areas first Chinese-American-owned businesses, and one of the largest canneries in the country in its time.

A real treat was a presentation by Claire Britton-Warren (pictured) on the disaster of the steamship Jenny Lind in 1853. A boiler explosion en route from San Francisco killed numerous passengers just as they prepared for dinner. Among the dead Charles White, namesake of today’s White Road, and Jacob Hoppe, an early newspaperman and promoter of Alviso and Santa Clara County.

Two more walking tours are planned. On Saturday, June 16, in the Historic Hensley District, near downtown; and on Saturday, June 23, in Japantown. The tours begin at 10 am and last 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Tickets are $15 per person, or $10 for PAC*SJ members, available from the PAC*SJ website.

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