On most battlegrounds you would not find a battleship, but San Jacinto State Historical Park is a definite exception to the ... More
On most battlegrounds you would not find a battleship, but San Jacinto State Historical Park is a definite exception to the rule. This majestic ship is berthed on the Houston Ship Channel at the edge of the park. She is the only survivor of the World War I dreadnoughts and also served as a flagship for the World War II D-Day invasion in 1944. President Eisenhower, a native Texan, presided over the dedication ceremony when the ship was retired, and the U.S. Navy has proudly preserved and restored her in the years since. Visitors are welcome to explore most parts of the ship. Tours are available, and many areas display items and memorabilia from ship life.
The USS Texas has so many firsts for a Dreadnaught built in 1914..she's the last of her kind, the first to have mounted anti-aircraft guns, first to have directors/range keepers to control gunfire, first to launch an airplane, first to receive CXAM-1 radar, first museum ship and first designated a National Historic Landmark.
While earning five battlestars, she was damaged by a German battery shell off Cherbourg days after DDay, suffering one fatality and 10 wounded. Another shell penetrated the wardroom but did not explode. It is exhibited onboard to this day.
There are guided tours on weekends and call ahead to find out when they conduct 'hard hat tours' which take you to parts of the ship not normally open to the public.
This is a great visit, especially since it was restored to sailing quality a few years ago. The ship saw significant duty in both World Wars. Aside from its obvious value to naval history, there are also widespread references to its being haunted! It's adjacent to the San Jacinto Battleground (where Texas won its independence), is on the San Jacinto River near Galveston Bay, and has a very good seafood restaurant and historically significant, operating ferry close by. So, what's not to like! The ship and park are in a heavy industrial area. My complaint isn't simply that, but that the only road leading to the park from LaPorte is ugly even for an industrial area. I think the neighboring companies should be more sensitive to how important this area is to Texas history. A little landscaping would go a long way.