The last of the battleships to participate in World War I and II, Battleship Texas became the first battleship memorial museum in the U.S. in 1948. That same year, on the anniversary of Texas Independence, the Texas was presented to the State of Texas and commissioned as the flagship of the Texas Navy. In 1983, the Texas was placed under the stewardship of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and is permanently anchored in La Porte, TX (Harris County) on the Buffalo Bayou and the busy Houston Ship Channel.
She was launched on May 18, 1912 from Newport News, Virginia. When the USS Texas was commissioned on March 12,1914, she was the most powerful weapon in the world, the most complex product of an industrial nation just beginning to become a force in global events.
In 1916, Texas became the first U.S. battleship to mount antiaircraft guns and the first to control gunfire with directors and range-keepers, analog forerunners of today's computers. In 1919, Texas became the first U.S. battleship to launch an aircraft.
In 1925, the Texas underwent major modifications. She was converted to oil-fired boilers, tripod masts and a single stack were added to the main deck, and the 5" guns that bristled from her sides were reduced in number and moved to the main deck to minimize problems with heavy weather and high seas. Blisters were also added as protection against torpedo attack.
The Texas received the first commercial radar in the US Navy in 1939. New antiaircraft batteries, fire control and communication equipment allowed the ship to remain an aging but powerful unit in the US naval fleet. In 1940, Texas was designated flagship of US Atlantic Fleet. The First Marine Division was founded aboard the Texas early in 1941. April 21, 1948 the Texas was decommissioned.
The Texas holds the distinguished designation of a National Historic Landmark and a National Mechanical Engineering Landmark.