1877 Tall Ship ELISSA, Galveston

4.5
ELISSA is a three-masted, iron-hulled sailing ship built in 1877 in Aberdeen, Scotland by Alexander Hall & Company. She carries nineteen sails covering over one-quarter of an acre in surface area. Tall ships are classified by the configuration of their sailing rig. In ELISSA's case, she is a 'barque' because she carries square and fore-and-aft sails on her fore and mainmasts, but only fore-and-aft sails on her mizzenmast. From her stern to the tip of her jibboom she measures 205 feet. Her height is 99 feet, 9 inches at the main mast and she displaces about 620 tons at her current ballast. But, she is much more than iron, wood and canvas.

Unlike some tall ships of today ELISSA is not a replica, but a survivor. She was built during the decline of the "Age of Sail" to fill a niche in maritime commerce. Over her 90-year commercial history she carried a variety of cargos to ports around the world, for a succession of owners. Her working life as a freighter came to an end in Piraeus Harbor, Greece, where she was rescued from the scrap yard by a variety of ship preservationists who refused to let her die. The story of ELISSA's discovery and restoration is nothing short of miraculous, and is beautifully retold in photographs and a video presentation at the Texas Seaport Museum.

Today ELISSA is much more than an artifact from a bygone era. She is a fully-functional vessel that continues to sail annually during sea trials in the Gulf of Mexico. Thanks to Galveston Historical Foundation and its commitment to bring history to life, combined with the dedication of hundreds of volunteers who keep her seaworthy and train each year to sail her, ELISSA and the art of 19th Century square-rigged sailing are alive and well.

The name and image of ELISSA are registered trademarks of Galveston Historical Foundation.
Plan your visit to 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA and a wealth of other attractions, well-known and undiscovered, using our Galveston trip itinerary tool .
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1877 Tall Ship ELISSA Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
566 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • We went with 4 kids (ages 7-16) and everyone enjoyed aspects of the Seaport Museum and the ship tour. The younger kids especially liked the dress-up area in the museum, but found the video to be borin...  more »
  • the Elissa is a do not miss attraction in Galveston ... an amazing story of a hard life as a working vessel ... the rediscovery, renovation, pain/sweat/dollars to provide Galveston and her residents a...  more »
Google
  • Very cool historic sailing ship to visit. They now are offering where you can buy a plank to help preserve it. They also sold tickets to take a ride . It’s a very neat piece of history that is anchored to the harbor side of Galveston Island.
  • This ship is absolutely breathtaking...it is great to see such an old ship being maintained to bring a piece of history to the present. Although it is no longer all wood, you can almost imagine the sounds of the old wood cracking as you walk on board. They are working on offering a long ride out to see on the ELISSA but it is not yet running. It will be an expensive ride somewhere in the hundreds. We went on the Seagull II on a narrated tour of the area and also went in the museum. All of which was a lot of fun!

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