Battleship Texas

uss texas bb-35 battleship

Good news for fans of the USS Texas (BB 35) and big gun ships in general:

Proposition 4 aims to give the ‘Mighty T’ a longer life

Texas’ Prop 4 includes money for a wide range of items, including money for the Lone Star Battleship:

Barry Ward, executive director of the Battleship Texas Foundation, said the $25 million earmarked for the “Mighty T” is enough to dry berth and repair the ailing vessel that fought in both world wars.

If approved, the bond money would go toward taking the ship out of the corrosive Houston Ship Channel water and in a dry berth display.

The 573-foot-long ship also needs structural repairs, steel plate replacement to the hull and blister tank, a new wooden deck and an electrical overhaul.

Preliminary plans are for the ship to be moved to another location on the ship channel until crews dredge a deeper berth; build a coffer dam and then a concrete slab supported by a grid of concrete columns to serve as the ship’s foundation.

With the ship in a dry berth setting, visitors will be able to see the underside, including the hull, propellers, keels and rudders, as well as the extensive corrosion the water has caused.

Voters had previously approved over $24 million for the park and ship, but the money was all spent elsewhere. Nice. Supposedly that possibility has been closed this time around, but I can see why voters would be leery. Still, I’m hoping the old battlewagon gets the money she needs.

Meanwhile, a few more USS Texas-related items:

Texas Mystery #1
I’m reposting this since no one has solved it yet.

This is one of the ship’s oil-fired boilers. This compartment, too, was flooded at one time. The rust line was near the overhead of this boiler room, showing the extent of the flooding.

Here is the boiler next to the one in the previous picture. As you can see, it’s been partially restored. Though it’s difficult to make out in the picture, each of the silver-painted round openings is normally covered as in the other picture. If you look closely, you can see that one (in the bottom center of the picture) is covered on this one.

TEXAS MYSTERY #1: Which ship were these boilers originally intended for?

The Texas was converted from a coal-fired to an oil-fired ship in the aftermath of the post-WW1 naval limitation treaties. A number of US capital ships, including the entire South Dakota class of battleships, were canceled. Much of the machinery intended for these canceled ships was used to modernize older ships, and the Texas’ boilers came from one (or more) of them. I asked which ship’s boilers the Texas received, and the docent told me that they had been unsuccessful in their attempts to discover the answer to that question.

So, MO readers, can you help? Do you know where to find out which ship the Texas’ oil-fired boilers were originally intended for? Do you know someone who might know? (It’s probably either a South Dakota-class battleship or a Lexington-class battlecruiser. Another possibility would be the Colorado-class USS Washington, though I don’t know if she got her boilers before she was cancelled.) Let me know, and if it can be verified I’ll proudly pass the information on to the Texas group.

I snapped these pictures during the Hard Hat Tour of the ship I took a year ago. There’s a second mystery, as well, concerning a strange handle in the Central Station compartment. Someone’s got to know the answer, don’t they?

The old battleship Texas
Picture of the original USS Texas (pre-BB number second-class design), the first US battleship at My Victorian Navy.

Finally: “A rusted-out battleship in a spruced up port”
Not the USS Texas. The Astrodome.