A new hardhat tour aboard one of the area's most treasured pieces of history will launch later this month.

Battleship Texas, the only surviving U.S. vessel to have served in both world wars, is a shrine to combat life during the first half of the 20th Century. The ship has been docked at the San Jacinto battlefield in LaPorte for decades and become a popular tourist attraction. The new three-hour tour will allow visitors to see areas of the ship seldom open to the public, according to an article in the Houston Chronicle.

Stops on the tour will include areas in which ammunition was stored and readied for transport to the Texas' 5- and 14-inch guns, the boiler room for the ship's twin, four-cylinder steam engines, the pilot house, the No. 1 turret and other areas normally off limits to visitors.

The tour wends its way through a series of small corridors and passageways, down narrow stairways and past areas of the ship frozen in time. Organizers warn the tours will not be for the faint of heart, those who suffer from claustrophobia or fear of heights. The tours kick off Oct. 20.

"When the Texas was commissioned, it was the most powerful ship on the face of the planet," Battleship Texas guide Paul McCann, a retired Navy veteran, told the Chronicle. "It fought for our freedoms. It was slated to be decommissioned three times, and each time it got a new lease on life. It's the last dreadnought-style ship we have, and it should be preserved."

After experiencing several large-scale leaks this past summer, the Texas is slated for $29 million in repairs in spring 2013. The repairs will focus largely on replacing rusted internal structures. There is also a plan to eventually display the vessel in dry berth. But that effort will take many millions more and require a capital campaign to see it through.