HOUSTON — It’s still an impressive sight: The mighty battleship built nearly 110 years ago and now moored by the San Jacinto Monument near the city of La Porte, near Houston. It’s the only U.S. Navy ship still around that saw action in World War I and World War II.
For years, the Battleship Texas has been one of the state’s biggest tourist attractions. But time has taken a toll. Numerous leaks in the hull have closed the once-popular tourist attraction, except for special occasions.
But changes are coming soon for the legendary war ship.
Sometime this summer, it will be towed to a shipyard in Galveston, placed on a massive dry dock, and the holes in the hull will be fixed.
After the repairs, the Texas won’t be returned to La Porte, where it’s been docked since 1948. Instead, three cities are competing for the honor of giving the Texas a new home: Baytown, Beaumont and Galveston.
PHOTOS: Battleship Texas
And when it finally reaches its permanent home, what a story the Texas will tell – from its birth at a Virginia shipyard 108 years ago, to the vital role it played on D-Day 1944 as Allied troops stormed the beaches at Normandy. Then just a few weeks later, it had a close call at the Port of Cherbourg in France when German shells struck the Texas. It was quickly repaired in Britain and sent to the Pacific for the Battles of Okinawa and Iwo Jima.
After the war, the ship was given to the State of Texas as America’s first floating military museum. Many millions of Texas school kids, veterans and the curious have walked the decks during the 74 years that it’s been docked.
This coming weekend, March 12 and 13, and again on March 26 and 27, the Battleship Texas will be temporarily open to visitors at its dock in La Porte. Tickets are required and are available online at battleshiptexas.org.
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