San Jacinto Battleground State Park
La Porte (Houston), Texas
visited June, 2001
USS Texas (BB-35) DANFS
Words alone can't describe the feeling when you walk on board USS Texas. Only here can you examine pre-World War I technology, right down to the open pistons in the engine room. Examine 1913 turret technology up close, and climb the forward tripod mast structure and imagine yourself on watch off Normandy in 1917...and again in 1945.
The Texas was drydocked a few years ago, and as such the topside and hull appear to be in excellent condition. The engineering spaces could use some new paint; but the opportunity to examine the hardware brushes all that aside. The ship lost her lower casemate guns in an early refit, but the "gallery" of 5-inch guns is still here. The 5" guns themselves didn't look all that different from cannon on display at Fort Sumter in South Carolina. The forward 14" turret is open, and although it's a squeeze for more, can easily hold one intrepid tourist with a camera or two. The shift towards air supremacy is demonstrated with the antiaircraft guns mounted everywhere.
The Texas is afloat in a small channel off the Houston ship channel. The water was a murky brown thanks to Tropical Storm Allison, but there was no visible damage to the ship. Thankfully, the mosquitoes were taking the day off. You can brave the bugs and see the Texas from shore on both sides (boarding is from starboard) and marvel at the only remaining ship with the famous tripod masts and five 14" turrets.
The Texas can be reached easily from Houston, and is a must-see of any trip to southeast Texas. Pictures speak a thousand words, so I'll stop here and move to the photos.
(click on thumbnails to show the larger image)
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San Jacinto Battleground State Historical Park
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