Saturday, December 16, 2017

BB-35 and San Jacinto

Battleship USS Texas in Houston Texas
We had a great day to tour BB-35, the Battleship Texas
104 years old, 573’ long, 106’ wide, 132’ tall and weighing in at 34,000 tons displacement.

Meet the USS Texas (BB-35), once the most powerful battleship in the world. She was commissioned in March of 1914 and went on to serve in both WW I and WW II.

Not only is she the last of the dreadnoughts, she is the last remaining vessel that served in both World Wars.

And we got to go on board.

 reproduction of officers meal at Christmas in  WWII
Officer's Ward Room set for Christmas Dinner
O.K., anyone who buys a ticket can take a self-guided tour. (We took the “general admission” self-guided tour. They also offer a hard hat tour into the “off-limit” areas. But at $50 for that one…. yeah, that general admission was just fine for us!)

And so, we got to walk the historic decks of this grand old lady of the US Navy and explore some of her cabins, armaments and more. At least of what was open to the public. (And didn’t require too many ladders to climb…. yeah, we skipped the pilot house…this time. It was several flights up!) But we enjoyed all that
Sailor explains a display to a man
Chris was able to ask a "crewman" about one of the displays
we could get at, and discovered afterwards we missed some areas and displays too!  There were several families on board too. The kids were sure having fun exploring it and working the anti-aircraft guns.

There was a lot to see, even with the areas that are closed off for restoration. They are fighting a battle against time and sea water to keep her afloat. (The ultimate goal is to move her into a dry berth for display like the USS Stewart and USS Cavalla are). Since the Texas has been on display since 1948, that’s a lot of time in salt water for a steel hull! We sure hope the preservation efforts are successful. She’s a wonderful piece of our nation’s naval history.

But that’s not all folks!

View of San Jacinto Monument from the deck of the USS Texas
Looking towards the San Jacinto Monument from Turret 1
The USS Texas is located at the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site. For those unfamiliar with Texas history, it is the battle that won Texas it’s freedom from Mexico.

And we "scored"! Now, you can pick up a map and walk the battle ground to get a feel for what happened, but honestly, after 3 hours climbing all over the Texas we were far more interested in finding lunch.

That is, until we came across a small display table and a couple of Texas State Park volunteers. They were doing FREE guided
man driving a vehicle
Joe, Texas State Park volunteer and our tour guide/interpreter
tours of the battle ground (in a van).

Umm. Yes please. (Free is good. We like free!)

We are so glad we did. Joe, our guide, was a wealth of knowledge with all kinds of trivia and facts about the battle. We learned a lot about a battle that took place back in 1836, lasted approximately 18 minutes and was essentially a last ditch effort by the Texian Army. It won Texas freedom from Mexico and changed the course of history.

Lunch was delayed another hour later, but we sure enjoyed our day. We’ll have to make a trip back sometime to tour San Jacinto Monument and museum. (It was tea time instead of lunchtime…and we needed to eat!)

By the way, San Jacinto monument is 570' tall. That's taller than the Washington monument!

You can learn more about the USS Texas at: https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/battleship-texas
And San Jacinto at: https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/san-jacinto-battleground

And here's a few more photos...
USS Texas mast top
Top of USS Texas mast. 131" 7.5" above the water

man in parasail with a motor
Crazy the things you see. This guy was buzzing around the Texas!

man standing on battleship gun deck
Chris checks out some of the guns. The bakery was behind him!

park display of Map of the Battle of San Jacinto
Map of the Battle of San Jacinto

San Jacinto Monument and reflecting pool
San Jacinto Monument


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