The Battleship Texas State Historic Site is closing to the public Aug. 26, allowing staff and contractors full accessibility to the ship, ensuring they can safely perform the necessary preparation work ahead of a repair project.
The last day the public will be able to explore the Battleship Texas will be Aug. 25.
“It is important that we take the necessary steps to preserve the profound legacy of the Battleship Texas,” Director of Texas State Parks Rodney Franklin said. “I look forward to the next chapter that the battleship will experience after these much-needed repairs are completed. The ship has taken part in some of the most significant naval battles of the 20th century, and we hope it will continue to be around for future generations of Texans to enjoy.”
During the closure, staff will be cataloging and securing thousands of artifacts onboard the ship, as well as removing large exhibit collections before it is transported for repair.
Senate bill, SB 1511, was passed in the latest Texas legislative session and was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott to have the battleship towed out its berth and repaired to the tune of $35 million. However, where the ship would end up afterward has been a source of controversy. The name of some cities has been tossed around such as Galveston, Kemah or even Corpus Christi. However, Baytown’s name came up recently with Mayor Brandon Capetillo expressing interest.
Bruce Bramlett, the executive director of the Battleship Texas Foundation, has said the historic dreadnought will not be returning to its berth near the San Jacinto Monument. Citing lack of tourism and possible more deterioration from the waters, Bramlett said he is open to moving it to another location.
Some say they want the ship, first commissioned in 1914, to be brought back to La Porte, where the U.S. Navy gifted it in 1948. This includes District 128 Rep. Briscoe Cain, who had filed an amendment unsuccessfully for SB 1511 and District 144 Rep. Mary Ann Perez, who represents the district where the ship is stationed.
Nothing has been determined as of yet, so where the ship will end up is a mystery at this point.
Despite the closing of the battleship to the public, visitors will continue to have access to the San Jacinto Monument, the San Jacinto Battleground and the park’s nature trails during the closure.
For more information, visit the Battleship Texas State Historic Site and the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site’s park pages on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s website.