U.S.S. TEXAS

Also known as: The Battleship Texas
22 mi. E of Houston on TX 134 at San Jacinto Battleground, Houston, Texas

Photos 

Main Deck looking aft

Photo taken by Curtis Lee in July 2007

Map 

Street View 

Description 

Sole survivor of six American "dreadnoughts", TEXAS was completed in time to participate in the American landings at Veracruz. She served during World War I as a member of the Atlantic Fleet, hunting down German warships; between the wars, she was the first battleship to have an aircraft fly from her decks. During World War II, TEXAS served on Atlantic convoy duty, bombarding shore positions during the invasions of North Africa, Normandy, and Southern France; in late 1944, she proceeded to the Pacific where she participated in the bombardment of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. -- National Historic Landmark statement of significance, December 8, 1976

Essay 

Texas Parks and Wildlife Division news release - used with permission

June 15, 2010
Emergency Pumping Prevents Sinking of Battleship Texas

A rag and a backup pump kept the storied battleship Texas from sinking in its mooring at San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site over the weekend, according to state park officials.

"This worrisome incident, which we fortunately succeeded in bringing under control, underscores the importance of moving forward rapidly with plans to place the Texas in a dry-berth," said Carter Smith, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department executive director. "I'm just glad our folks at the park showed a lot of resourcefulness in preventing the situation from getting out of hand."

The 1914-vintage battleship, a veteran of both world wars, is the last of its kind. She's been moored at the San Jacinto Battleground since 1948. Her hull was last repaired in the late 1980s and has since become dangerously weakened from years of exposure to the brackish water of the Houston Ship Channel.

Last Thursday, according to park manager Andy Smith, a park employee leaving for the day noticed that the ship appeared to be sitting a bit lower in the water than normal. When he returned to work the next morning, the ship was noticeably lower. In fact, the lower portion of the collar of one of the monopiles attached to the vessel was about a foot under water, meaning the ship had sunk some two to three feet overnight.

When park staff checked below deck, they discovered a previously unknown leak on the starboard side of the ship, near the waterline in the vicinity of frame 80. Water also was found building up in the aft steering compartment of the ship.

A pump in that compartment had burned out, according to the park manager, causing the ship to take on more water than normal. That, in turn, pulled a seam separation below the water line, in effect causing another leak. The broken pump was replaced with a backup, and other pumps were employed.

By the end of the day Saturday, some 105,000 gallons of water had been pumped from the ship, which rose to its normal level. As a temporary fix, a rag was stuffed in the starboard leak, which is now above the waterline.

"Currently, a rag and pumps are keeping her afloat," said Justin Rhodes, regional director of the area that includes the San Jacinto site. "The sooner we get her out of the water, the better."
In 2007, as part of Proposition 4, voters approved a bond package that included $25 million to dry-berth the battleship. The Battleship Texas Foundation will be providing another $4 million. And last March, the Legislative Budget Board approved the sale of bonds "contingent on the ship being dry berthed in its current location."

Plans are in progress to dry-berth the ship. TPWD recently selected an engineering firm to design the dry berth and is currently negotiating design fees. After that, the team will develop a project plan and construction schedule. Current plans are to complete the dry-berth by 2014, the centennial of the ship's commissioning.

"Given what happened recently, we are eager to proceed with this project," Carter Smith said. "We're not going to let the passage of time do what two world wars could not do, which is scuttle the Battleship Texas."

National Register information 

Status
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on December 8, 1976
Reference number
76002039
Architectural style
Other architectural type; Reciprocating steam engines
Areas of significance
Military; Engineering
Level of significance
National
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Structure
Historic functions
Naval facility; Water-related
Current function
Museum
Periods of significance
1900-1924; 1925-1949
Significant years
1910; 1914; 1948

Update Log 

  • August 24, 2010: New Street View added by Bill Eichelberger
  • August 23, 2010: Essay added by Curtis Lee

Sources