Alviso was one of the earliest ports on the west coast of the United States and one of the earliest towns, incorporated in 1852, in Santa Clara County. It was expected to be a "great city" due to its location, but after it was bypassed by railroads, it was "almost totally deserted" and was not annexed to the City of San José until 1968. The Port of Alviso is also a State of California Point of Historical Interest (SHPI SCL-061); listed in the California History Plan and California Inventory of Historic Resources; and one contributor to the district, the former Old Union Warehouse, is one of the seven buildings/building clusters/sites of the Bay Side Canning Company and one of the 94 Chinese American State of California Ethnic Sites.
Alviso was annexed by the City of San José in 1968. The Alviso (District), known as "Port of Alviso (San José)," is a listed National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) district, but is not a designated City District. As a NRHP property, this district is automatically included on the California Register of Historical Resources (CRHR). The district is bounded on the north by an arm of Alviso Slough, on the west by the Alviso Slough, the 1850 canal, and the Guadalupe River, on the south by Moffat Street, and, on the east by a line down the center of Gold Street to Catherine Street, west on Catherine to the center of the block between El Dorado and Gold, and then south to Moffat.