Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Battleship Texas

From the Houston Chronicle:

Retirement hasn't been kind to the Battleship Texas, the only remaining U.S. battleship to survive World Wars I and II.

Once touted as the most powerful weapon on the planet, the nearly century-old battlewagon has endured some 60 years as an historic relic moored in the brackish Houston Ship Channel, corrosion from water outside and inside munching at its steel and patchwork repairs.

"Our boat's been sitting in the water and rusting away, so we get it out of the water," says Andy Smith, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's manager of the battleship site east of Houston.

That's the goal as work finally is beginning to permanently remove the Texas from water by constructing a unique dry berth for the 573-foot-long, 34,000-ton vessel. It's the most complex project ever for the parks agency and isn't likely to be complete until late this decade.

"You're dealing with a metal artifact sitting in a brackish environment in high humidity," Smith said. "How do you treat an artifact? Traditionally we put it in a climate controlled space where you control for temperature, humidity and light. You can't do that with an almost 600-foot-long ship."

Wrong. I think we just figured out what to do with the Astrodome, folks. Put the Texas inside, turn on the air, and turn it into one huge climate-controlled museum.

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