Posts Tagged ‘ghost town’

A ghost town in the heart of Silicon Valley? I first read about Drawbridge a couple years ago, but didn’t get a chance to explore it until last weekend. Founded in 1876 on the rail line between Fremont and Alviso, Drawbridge reached its peak during Prohibition. Due to its relative isolation and the fact that nearly every resident was armed, local law enforcement didn’t bother making vice raids. Nearly every resident was armed. Water pumping and nearby salt evaporation ponds caused the land to sink into the bay, and people started to leave. Local newspapers published wild accounts of treasure left behind, bringing hordes of scavengers and vandals. The few remaining residents scared them off with shotguns, but it was a futile effort. Charles Luce, the last man in Drawbridge, left in 1979. In thirty years of abandonment, most of the buildings are in an advanced state of decay and sinking into the marsh. It seemed a good time to check out the ghost town before it disappears completely.
iron road
I was up by 5:30am and on the tracks heading north from Alviso an hour later. I had hoped for a beautiful sunrise, but the overcast light made for excellent landscape photography.
blue dawn

coyote creek
The only sound I heard was the occasional pop of shotguns as game hunters prowled the sloughs for waterfowl.
After a nearly three mile hike along the tracks, I came to the first abandoned structures. Drawbridge is technically closed to outsiders, but there’s nothing to stop people save for a few signs. The tracks are active, but only a couple Amtrak trains rolled through when I was there.

The land surrounding the tracks is mostly salt marsh crisscrossed with small streams. A few of them are covered by pickleweed and nearly invisible, causing me to stumble and plunge ankle deep in mud. It’s not a particularly safe environment for high-end camera gear.
Surprisingly, the place isn’t as overrun by graffiti as I would’ve expected.


This place was the best preserved in all of Drawbridge. Pretty sure this used to be the kitchen.


front yard

More abandoned buildings are north along the tracks.


Some great opportunities for macro decay photography.


Around this time I noticed that the tide was coming in fast, causing the bay to seep out of the marsh and make further exploration difficult.
The sun came out around noon, and by then Drawbridge was inundated by water.
Rest of the Drawbridge set here.


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