The Baytown Historic Preservation Association (BHPA) will present a program and update on the “Battleship Texas” at its January 25 Saturday History session. The program will be presented by Mark Lardas, a sometime engineer, freelance writer, amateur historian and model-maker, lives in League City, Texas. His program will be based on book the Battleship Texas, titled “The Battleship Texas in War and Peace.”
The Battleship Texas is the oldest dreadnought battleship still in existence, the only remaining representative of a class of warships which dominated the war at sea during World War I. It had a remarkable career as a warship, but it has been a museum ship for over twice as long as it served as a commissioned warship in the United States Navy. Its history as a museum ship is almost never told, but is as fascinating as its wartime service. It came closer to destruction over its seven decades as a museum ship than it ever did in combat.
It was built when dreadnought battleships were kings of the seas. It was the world’s most powerful battleship when first commissioned in 1914, and for over a century it fought many battles. Some took place while the Texas served as a warship in the US Navy in World Wars I and II. Since becoming a museum ship and war memorial in 1948, it has fought a longer and more difficult struggle as it combats the ravages of time for its very survival. Throughout its existence, the Texas has made history, leaving a wealth of fascinating stories in its wake. I was brought to berth across from the San Jacinto Monument in
Mark Lardas, a League City expert on Texas’ maritime history. When he says something isn’t rocket science, he should know – he has been one. Although he graduated from the University of Michigan with a BS in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, he spent most of the next 30 years as a space navigator and a software engineer on the Shuttle program. His down-to-earth interests include model-making and writing, interests which he combines in numerous articles to modeling magazines, and as a stints as the Hobby Master for Boy’s Life and the Model Master for English Street, an English language publication in Hong Kong. He is also the author of seventeen published books, all focusing on history, with ten related to maritime and naval history. Lardas also developed his passion for model building and has over the years amassed a large collection of ships and rocket models, 75 to 80 of which will soon be displayed ??? is it now in place there? at the 1940 Air Terminal Museum at Hobby Airport. Lardas’ experience and skills as an engineer and writer helped him secure his current job as a technical writer, but his interest in history never diminished, especially maritime history that dates back to junior high school.
Mark Lardas will give a talk about the ship’s history, with an emphasis on its adventures as a museum. It will include rare photos showing the ship in all phases of its existence. He will also be selling and signing copies of his book about the warship: Battleship Texas, as well as his other books.
The program will be held in the Barn Meeting Room at the Republic of Texas Plaza, 5117 North Main Baytown, Texas. The program is free; contributions will be gratefully accepted. Reservations are strongly encouraged. The doors will open at 9:30 a.m. for refreshments and fellowship followed by Mr. Lardas’ presentation. Free tours of the buildings will be given. To reserve your seat, on a first-come basis, contact 281-421-2099 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Webpage at http://www.baytownhistory.org/