My 2016 Mid-West Trip Part 3

20 Jul

A Slice of Life

 Bill Lites

Bill Stars Plane



Day 3 (Monday)

The day trip from Houston to Galveston took longer than I had expected. My first stop was to visit the Lone Star Flight Museum. This was a very nice museum with about 20 aircraft (in one very large hanger) most of which were restored to flying condition.


I was surprised to see they had a German Me-262 Schwalbe (Swallow) jet fighter on display.  I ask one of the volunteers if the Me-262 was in flying condition and he said, “Yes.”  Then he told me it was on loan from another museum, and it was actually one of the three beautiful new Me-262 reproductions built by the Classic Fighter Industries at Paine Field in Everett, Washington.


The next stop was to visit the Galveston Railroad Museum which had a very nice collection of rolling stock. Their train station restoration was amazing and reminded me of several stations I had visited on my travels to and from duty stations while in the U.S. Navy. A large variety of train memorabilia, including original dinning ware, from the 1920s through the 1960s was also on display.



I was disappointed when I couldn’t find the Texas Seaport Museum where I hoped to see the Tall Ship Elissa. Greta took me to the Galveston cruise ship terminal which was bustling with cruise line passengers, taxis and limousines.  The entire dock area was blotted out by the mass of the cruise ship tied up alongside the terminal, taking on passengers. The Elissa is a two-masted, iron-hulled brigantine sailing ship originally built in 1877 in Aberdeen, Scotland by the Alexander Hall & Company. The ship is one of the world’s oldest sailing ships, and is maintained and sailed annually around the Gulf of Mexico.


I stopped and took a photo of the famous Willis-Moody Mansion there in Galveston. I had read that the mansion is a 31-room Romanesque historic residence that was built in 1895 by Narcissa Willis. It was later bought by the entrepreneur William Lewis Moody Jr. and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. I decided not to take a tour of the mansion and headed back toward Houston.


The route Greta proposed for my return to Houston took me past the small town of Texas City, TX. I was old enough (9 years old) to remember the tremendous disaster that happened at the Port of Texas City in 1947.  So I decided to stop and see if they had a museum or memorial honoring the many people that were killed as a result of that disaster.


The small Texas City Museum is said to have a section set aside for the 1947 disaster, but the museum was closed. However, there was a Texas City Remembers park that honored the people killed in that horrific disaster.

I stopped to pay my respects.



I made it back to Houston in time to visit the site of the Battleship USS Texas

(BB-35). I had toured two other U.S. battleships and a U.S. cruiser, so opted not to tour this ship. However, Wikipedia informed me that the ship is a New York class battleship that was commissioned in 1914. The USS Texas was involved in many actions during WWI, and again during WWII including support of Allied landings on North Africa, Normandy, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.


As I was leaving the Battleship Texas site, I noticed right ahead of me was a very tall monument. So I stopped to see what it was all about. I discovered it was the 567 foot high San Jacinto Monument, located on part of the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site. This impressive monument was built to commemorate the decisive 1836 Battle of San Jacinto during the Texas Revolution. It was completed in 1939 and is the world’s tallest masonry column (13 feet taller than the Washington Monument). Leave it to Texas to be and have not only the biggest, but also claim to have the tallest!


Next it was over to the William P. Hobby Airport to see if Greta could find The 1940 Air Terminal Museum. And what do you know; she took me right to it! I was surprised to learn that according to Wikipedia, Houston’s Hobby Airport has been around since 1927, and has had several names; W. T. Carter Field, Houston Municipal Airport and Howard R. Hughes Airport, just to name a few. This building was the first airport passenger terminal built in Houston.


Opened in 1940, this art deco structure served as the Houston Municipal Airport Terminal until 1954 when it was renamed Houston International Airport. As the air transportation business expanded across America, Houston’s airport expanded with it, and in 1967 it was renamed, again, to what we now know as the William P. Hobby Airport. Too bad the museum was closed, as I would like to have browsed through the history of this beautiful air terminal building.



On the way to the motel, I asked Greta to see if she could direct me to the ArtCar Museum. As it turned out, this was a small museum that displays mostly post-modern age cars, modified by artists/owners to the specifications of their own idiosyncratic images and visions. I was sorry to find this museum closed for the day, since I would have loved to seen some of those “Artists” handy work.


Dinner tonight was Baby Back Ribs, a sweet potato with cinnamon butter and cold slaw at Longhorn Steakhouse.  It was all wonderful, and put me in the mood to kick back with a relaxing TV show and a good night’s sleep. I couldn’t find any good TV shows, so I just checked out tomorrow’s weather and went to bed.



—–To Be Continued—–

One Response to “My 2016 Mid-West Trip Part 3”

  1. Onisha Ellis July 20, 2016 at 8:48 pm #

    What a shame you did not get to tour the Tall ship. I think it would have been fascinating.


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