The 100-year-old battleship USS Texas, the last of the dreadnoughts that fought in World War I, has been closed indefinitely to repair several holes allowing 500 to 2,000 gallons of water a minute to enter the vessel. Repairs are underway.
The museum is docked permanently off the Houston ship channel near the San Jacinto monument. Fund- raising is underway to finance a major overhaul. Museum staff found several holes in the hull that appear to be the result of popped rivets.
The Texas was launched in 1912 and commissioned in 1914. Serving with the Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet in 1917 and 1918, the Texas was present at the surrender of the German High Seas Fleet at Scapa Flow in 1918. Modestly modernized and converted to oil firing, the Texas — armed with 14-inch naval rifles — served as a shore bombardment vessel in both the Atlantic and Pacific in WWII before becoming a museum ship in 1948.
USS Texas, date unknown. San Diego Air & Space Museum Archives.
As it happens, it actually was the second USS Texas. The first one — America’s first battleship — was built in the 1890s and blockaded the coast of Cuba during the Spanish-American War in 1898. It was thought to be unlucky, because it flooded several times, including a sinking in New York in which several of the crew were drowned and running aground on Block Island, off the coast of Rhode Island, in September 1917. It was renamed the San Marcos in 1911 to allow its name to be used by the new battleship.