Battleship Texas to Get Repairs; Relocation Debated
Governor Greg Abbott signed off on Senate Bill 1511, approving legislation to send the Battleship Texas to Alabama for repairs and giving the state flexibility in its operation and preservation of the last remaining dreadnaught class vessel from the Great War. Lawmakers and supporters hope these efforts will breathe new life into its rusting hold and pave the way to bring more revenue into the ship’s coffers.
The vessel engaged in numerous actions in both world words, most notably firing the first shots by the U.S. in World War I in order to protect the merchant vessel Mongolia from a German U-Boat in 1917 and providing gunfire protection as Allied troops landed on Omaha Beach in 1944.
The Battleship Texas has rested at its berth in LaPorte near the historic San Jacinto Monument and Battlegrounds site for 70+ years, reminding visitors of the brave sacrifices of the troops it carried and teaching students about life aboard the vessel. However, preserving its proud history hasn’t come without a price. Over the years, the Battleship Texas has suffered a losing war against the high cost of maintenance, the effects of corrosion, and mounting restoration needs.
Bruce Bramlett, the executive director of the Battleship Texas Foundation —an organization that has led the effort for the ship’s preservation and restoration since 1998 — told the Houston Chronicle that the ship generated about $1.2 million a year from tourism. This is only a fraction of the cost needed to keep the vessel viable for visitors and learners.
While the legislation provides for much needed repairs, the future home of the Battleship Texas is unclear. Some advocate for returning it to its current home while other urge a site that might attract larger crowds, such as Galveston.
“I think everybody that looks at this, if they look at the numbers and look at the reasoning on bringing it to Galveston, I think they’ll realize that’s the best option to save this battleship,” said state Rep. John Cyrier, R-Lockhart, one of the sponsors of SB 1511, in a statement to the Houston Chronicle.
- Date July 9, 2019
- Tags 2019 June