We might not live in the city where a battleship that served in two world wars now rests, but Austinites can still help to restore it.
Battleship Texas — the nation’s last surviving dreadnought, a naval warship that people can explore at its permanent dock at the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site in Houston — remains a museum, but it’s in trouble. The salt water surrounding the mighty ship is eroding its steel body.
East Austin brewery Friends & Allies Brewing is hosting one in a series of statewide fundraisers that will raise money for Battleship Texas’ restoration. The Aug. 18 event will feature a large ice sculpture of the battleship, a petition you can sign to show support for the state’s rescuing of it, a life-sized battleship game and much more.
It was a no-brainer for the two Friends & Allies co-founders, Devon Ponds and Ben Sabin, to host the Austin edition of the battleship benefit.
"Both Devon and I are originally from Houston and have very fond memories of visiting the battleship growing up. It was honestly the perfect tie-in, to preserve not just Texas history but national history in a fun and more engaging way," Sabin said.
Houston’s Karbach Brewing was the first Texas brewery to host a Come and Save It fundraiser for Battleship Texas. There will be additional events in San Antonio and Dallas. And whichever city gets the most signatures on the petitions wins a friendly competition and some bragging rights. Sign the petition at Friends & Allies, and the brewery will offer you a $3 pint.
The Battleship Texas Foundation is co-producing each of the stops on the brewery tour around the state. The nonprofit hopes to raise the funds to construct a dry dock on which the battleship can rest, removing her from the corrosive salt water. Plus, according to the Houston Chronicle, the foundation wants ultimately to outfit the ship in new steel that will extend her life by decades.
Signing the petition will help, according to the foundation, because "with enough support, we expect Texas leadership to come and save it — ensuring the Battleship Teas’ legacy lives on."
Can’t make any of the Come and Save It events? You can also donate directly to the cause at the Come and Save it website. (That’s a variation on a phrase, of course, that Texans know well. "Come and take it" served as a rallying cry at the Battle of Gonzales during the Texas Revolution.)
Battleship Texas was commissioned in 1914 as a dreadnought, the most complex machine of its time. Then called the USS Texas, the ship saw plenty of war, most significantly during D-Day in June 1944, when it served as a rescue and hospital ship and evacuated casualties from the beach, according to the Houston Chronicle. It was also a site where sailors and Marines watched the flag-raising at Iwo Jima a year later.
Friends & Allies Brewing is located at 979 Springdale Rd. The brewery is hosting the free Come and Save It event from 6 to 10 p.m. on Aug. 18. For more information, visit facebook.com/friendsandallies.beer/.
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