San Jacinto Battleground State Park
La Porte (Houston), Texas
visited January, 2003
USS Texas (BB-35) DANFS
18 months after my first trip to the Houston area, I returned to take part in a new event at the San Jacinto Battleground State Park - namely, a Hard Hat Tour of USS Texas. Arriving a couple of days ahead, I had the opportunity to revisit the public areas of the Texas. It would be easy to say that the best part of the tour was the absence of the B-52 sized mosquitoes I encountered in 2001, but the truth is that the work of the restoration crew is the main attraction.
Working alongside employees of the park, the volunteers have made significant progress, and their efforts continue. Not just new paint - several compartments on board have been returned to their 1945 appearance. Even the Marine bunks are back. The crews first remove all of the fittings and furnishings, blast the years of accumulated paint and rust away, repair any weak areas in the deck and bulkheads and then return the now-restored equipment to the compartment, in many cases along with reproductions that recreate the atmosphere of her last wartime cruises. Like our visit to Seawolf Park in Galveston, we were lucky to encounter friendly employees and volunteers who were happy to talk to us about the ongoing restoration efforts. We were allowed to see the ongoing restoration of the captain's cabin and discuss in great detail the craftsmanship that goes into this important work.
The photographs include an early morning visit to the Battleground, where you can ascend 489 feet to the observation room in the Battleground Monument and enjoy a view of the surrounding area, and of course, the Battleship. A tourist before us had made use of a pay telescope which had partially jammed while closing, affording an opportunity for an artistic shot of the ship. Also included are photos from a brief stop on the previous evening, with the ship bathed in twilight. The first three pages are comprised of digital photos, broken up to ease page loading times. The fourth page consists of scanned images from my Nikon F 35mm camera.
The Texas was commissioned in 1914, just two years before USS Nevada, a survivor of Pearl Harbor. She is scheduled to be drydocked in late 2004 or 2005. Next time you're in Houston, be sure to stop by and visit the only surviving dreadnought-era ship, a priceless glimpse into the past.
To ease the page load times, the photos have been spread across four pages.
(click on thumbnails to show the larger image)
For More Information:
San Jacinto Battleground State Historical Park
USS Texas Page Two
USS Texas Page Three
USS Texas Page Four
USS Texas Hard Hat Tour
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