It is located on the Southern Pacific Railroad 3 miles (4.8 km) north-northeast of downtown Fremont, at an elevation of 105 feet (32 m). The city's name was Merienda until 1915, and then was Alston until 1957. It was established as a station on the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1923 to serve the California Pressed Brick Company in Niles Canyon.
The area as indicated on Google Maps as the center of Dresser is currently not accessible from Niles Canyon Road, with a locked gate and numerous "Keep Out" signs posted. There are no signs indicating that the town even used to exist behind the gate. By looking at recent satellite imagery of Dresser (e.g., Google Maps), one can see ruins of buildings and three standing smokestacks that used to comprise the California Pressed Brick Company. Reportedly, the location has been used for partying since it was closed in the 1990s. The adjacent "Secret Sidewalk" (Niles Canyon Aqueduct) is also used for such purposes.