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Battleship TEXAS State Historic Site

3523 Highway 134
LaPorte TX 77571
281/479-2431

Battleship TEXAS logo.

Photo courtesy of Battleship TEXAS Archives
Photo of the Battleship TEXAS


Welcome Aboard the Battleship TEXAS

In 1948, the Battleship TEXAS became the first battleship memorial museum in the U.S. That same year, on the anniversary of Texas Independence, the Texas was presented to the State of Texas and commissioned as the flagship of the Texas Navy. In 1983, the Texas was placed under the stewardship of the Texas Parks and Wildlife and is permanently anchored on the Buffalo Bayou and the busy Houston Ship Channel. The Texas Parks and Wildlife's 1,200-acre San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site consists of the Battleground, Monument and Battleship TEXAS. These sites are located within minutes of downtown Houston and a short distance to the beaches of Galveston Island. Millions of visitors come to this area each year to enjoy the mild coastal climate and cultural and sports activities. Students and visitors alike are most fortunate to be able to experience history first hand through living history at the San Jacinto Battleground and Battleship TEXAS.

The Battleship TEXAS is administered by TPW with the dedicated assistance from the Battleship TEXAS Foundation, a private, non-profit organization.

Photo courtesy of Battleship TEXAS Archives
Cross section of the Battleship Texas. Click left or right half to view a larger image of that side.Link to  a larger image of the stern section. Link to  a larger image of the bow section.
Cross section view of the Battleship TEXAS. Click on either side for a larger image of that section.

The Battleship Texas is administered by TPW with the dedicated assistance from the Following link leaves the TPW web site in another browser. Battleship TEXAS Foundation, a private, non-profit organization.


Construction History

Photo courtesy of Battleship Texas Archives
1914 Photo of Battleship Texas. Click to view a larger image.
1914 Picture of Battleship TEXAS in it's original configuration.

The TEXAS is the last of the battleships, patterned after HMS Dreadnought, that participated in World War (WW) I and II. She was launched on May 18, 1912 from Newport News, Virginia. When the USS TEXAS was commissioned on March 12,1914, she was the most powerful weapon in the world, the most complex product of an industrial nation just beginning to become a force in global events.

In 1916, TEXAS became the first U.S. battleship to mount antiaircraft guns and the first to control gunfire with directors and range-keepers, analog forerunners of today's computers. In 1919, TEXAS became the first U.S. battleship to launch an aircraft.

In 1925, the TEXAS underwent major modifications. She was converted to oil-fired boilers, tripod masts and a single stack were added to the main deck, and the 5" guns that bristled from her sides were reduced in number and moved to the main deck to minimize problems with heavy weather and high seas. Blisters were also added as protection against torpedo attack.

The TEXAS received the first commercial radar in the US Navy in 1939. New antiaircraft batteries, fire control and communication equipment allowed the ship to remain an aging but powerful unit in the US naval fleet. In 1940, Texas was designated flagship of US Atlantic Fleet. The First Marine Division was founded aboard the TEXAS early in 1941. April 21, 1948 the Texas was decommissioned.

The TEXAS holds the distinguished designation of a National Historic Landmark and a National Mechanical Engineering Landmark.


Naval History

After being commissioned the TEXAS proceeded almost immediately to Mexican waters where she joined the Special Service Squadron following the "Vera Cruz Incident." She returned to the Atlantic Fleet operations in the fall of 1914, after the Mexican crisis was resolved.

Photo courtesy of Battleship Texas Archives
1945 photo of a plane on the Battleship Texas. Click to view a larger image.
1945 picture of a Kingfisher plane on the Battleship Texas.

After the US entered WW I, she spent the year 1917 training gun crews for merchant ships that were often attacked by gunfire from surfaced submarines. TEXAS joined the 6th Battle Squadron of the British Grand Fleet early in 1918. Operating out of Scapa Flow and the Firth of Forth, TEXAS protected forces laying a North Sea mine barrage, responded to German High Seas Fleet sorties, fired at submarine periscopes observed by multiple ships and helped prevent enemy naval forces from interrupting the supply of Allied forces in Europe. Late in 1918 she escorted the German Fleet enroute to its surrender anchorage and escorted President Wilson to peace talks in France.

In 1919, she served as a plane guard and navigational reference for the first transatlantic flight by the seaplane NC-4, after which she transferred to the Pacific Fleet. Among other notables, she embarked President Coolidge for a trip to Cuba in 1928.

In 1941 while on "Neutrality Patrol" in the Atlantic, TEXAS was stalked unsuccessfully by the German submarine U-203. TEXAS escorted Atlantic convoys against potential attack by German warships after America entered into WW II in December, 1941. In 1942, TEXAS transmitted General Eisenhower's first "Voice of Freedom" broadcast, asking the French not to oppose Allied landings on North Africa. The appeal went unheeded and the TEXAS provided gunfire support for the amphibious assault on Morocco, putting Walter Cronkite ashore to begin his career as a war correspondent. After further convoy duty, the TEXAS fired on Nazi defenses at Normandy on "D-Day," June 6, 1944. Shortly afterwards, she was hit twice in a duel with German coastal defense artillery near Cherbourg, suffering one fatality and 13 wounded. Quickly repaired, she shelled Nazi positions in Southern France before transferring to the Pacific where she lent gunfire support and antiaircraft fire to the landings on Iwo Jima and Okinawa.


General Ship Data

Class - New York Class Battleship
Length - 573 feet
Beam - 106 feet
Normal Draft - 28 feet 6 inches
Displacement - 34,000 tons
Speed - 21 knots
Crew - 1,820

 

Armament
Main Battery 1944 10 - 14"/45 caliber guns in 5 turrets
Range 12 miles
Projectiles Armor Piercing - 1500 lbs
Projectiles High Explosive - 1275 lbs
Full Broadside Armor Piercing - 15,000 lbs
Rate of Fire 1.5 rounds per minute
Turret Crew 70 men
Secondary Battery 1914 21 - 5"/51-caliber guns
1945 6 - 5"/51-caliber guns
Torpedo Tubes 1914 21" TT
Anti-Aircraft 1945 10 - 3"/50-caliber guns
10 - 40 mm quad mounted guns
44 - 20 mm guns

Tour the Battleship

Take a few minutes and allow us to take you on a tour of this warship. Imagine the adventure, bravery and hardship of the crew. You will enter the main deck on the starboard side of the ship.

Main Deck
Overview of the main deck. Click left or right half to view a larger image of that side.Link to  a larger image of the stern section. Link to  a larger image of the bow section.

Click on either side to view a larger image of that section.

Second Deck
Overview of the second deck. Click left or right half to view a larger image of that side.Link to  a larger image of the stern section. Link to  a larger image of the bow section.
Photos courtesy of Chuck Moore


Restoration of the TEXAS

Photo courtesy of Margaret Hooper
Photo of the Battleship Texas.

Through the private donations and efforts of the people and businesses of the State of Texas, in addition to State funds, the ship underwent dry dock overhaul in 1988-90 and systematic restoration was begun. Instead of peacetime gray, the TEXAS was painted Measure 21 blue camouflage, which she wore during service in the Pacific in 1945. Nearly 350,000 pounds of steel plating were replaced that were previously removed by the Navy and structural repairs were made to the masts and superstructure of the ship. Following the removal of the non-historic layer of concrete on the main deck, work began on the installation of a new wooden decking.

The work of saving the TEXAS in late 1980s has been a great source of pride throughout the state. The restoration would not have been possible if it had not been for the efforts of thousands of people including many school age children who "gave their pennies to save the TEXAS." While the ship officially reopened to the public on September 8, 1990, her restoration is not complete. During the last 10 years, many compartments and work areas on the ship have been carefully refurnished to portray life on a warship in 1945; however, plans have already begun for the next renovation of the TEXAS for the fall of 2005. While the search goes on for a suitable dry dock facility that will handle the weight and configuration of the battleship, the Texas legislature has already budgeted $12.5 million in funding for this renovation.

Battleship TEXAS SHS was the TPWD December 2003 Park of the Month. Read Why...


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