La Porte Loses its Battleship. Where Will It Rest?
On March 27, Battleship Texas closed its doors to visitors in La Porte for the final time before being shipped up North for repairs. However, it will not be returning there. It is not yet certain where its new permanent home will be.
Battleship Texas launched in 1912 and commissioned in 1914. It saw both world wars and held the title of the most formidable ship on the seas at the time it was commissioned. It was the first ship to be equipped with anti-aircraft missiles among other outstanding armor features. Its heavy armament ensured it could take as much damage as it dealt out, allowing it to stay in battles longer, often outlasting enemies if it could not outright defeat them.
The SS. Texas has earned five combat stars for special merits, and the hearts of Texans everywhere. It fought in wars, executed special missions, was the only U.S. warship to serve in all theaters of operation of WW2 and broadcasted anti-facist propaganda from its radio.
The last dreadknot came to Texas in 1948, on San Jacinto Day, becoming the first battleship to become a memorial museum. For years after, it was a hotspot for field trips, tourists, locals and historians alike. But now some are not even sure the ship can make a trip to the shipyard for repairs before falling apart en route. There are holes in its hull, rust on its body and all the expected damage caused by ocean water and Texas sun over the course of 100 years.
Today, its projected to be moved to Galveston for repairs.Currently, three cities stand in competition to permanently host Battleship Texas; Baytown, Beaumont and Galveston.
Personally, I find it a little heartbreaking to see it leave La Porte, especially for the residents that embrace it as their own. In terms of tourism and historical significance, I can see it having a stellar stay in Galveston. However, there’s something special about being able to stand on the edge of the ship’s deck, look across the water and see the San Jacinto Monument standing tall within the battleground. Battleship Texas has a home in La Porte, it’s a shame to take it away. But as long as it remains in Texas, accessible to all who want to learn about the history of their state for many years to come, it is enough.