The Alviso Adobe building is one of the oldest examples of an adobe structure in the Bay Area. It was built by Francisco Alviso in 1854 and is a California Historical Landmark.
The Alviso Adobe represents a typical building you would have found during the Californio or Rancho period. It was continuously occupied from 1854 until the Meadowlark Dairy closed on these premises in 1969.
Adobe bricks are made from a mixture of sand, clay and straw, which is molded and dried in the sun. Can you imagine making your own bricks and building your own house? If you’d like to experiment with your own adobe brick recipe look for our weekend programs throughout the year and learn more about this technique: be ready to get messy!
You can see a section of exposed bricks inside the living room of the adobe.
Originally, the adobe did not have any glass windows (only shutters), a dirt floor, bare mud walls and no electricity.
Notice how the door to the adobe is very low. Why do you think this is?
This was a clever design feature that kept the adobe cool in summer, and warm in winter. Because warm air rises, the lower doorframe helped keep the fireplace’s warmth inside the house during cold spells, and similarly allowed cool air to ventilate the space in summer. People were also much shorter in 1854 than we are today.
Some historians think that this area was originally used as a barn. The rooms, fireplace and wooden floors were only added later.
The furniture displays in the two bedrooms are indicative of two historical periods in which the Adobe was occupied.
The bedroom to the north of the building shows you what life could have looked like when tenant farmers lived here in the 19th century.
Why do you think the weaving loom would have been placed by the window?
The bedroom to the south displays how a bedroom could have looked in the 20th century.
Historians believe that this building was the original adobe structure in which residents slept.
When the Meadowlark Dairy purchased the property in 1919, they converted this room to a kitchen and dining room.
The dairy workers would have eaten here after the cook prepared their meals in the kitchen. The cook would have rung a bell like the one mounted on the porch to notify workers that their food was ready to be served.