Galveston Historic Seaport - Home of the 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA, Galveston

#3 of 11 in Museums in Galveston
History Museum · Landmark
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.
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Galveston Historic Seaport - Home of the 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA reviews

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793 reviews
  • We took Water Adventure tours to see dolphins 🐬. The pier had pelicans and of course seagulls. We ate at Katies Seafood restaurant. Food was great but service was rude.  more »
  • Had looked at several different dolphin tours but this one offered more than just a dolphin tour. Enjoyed the education and dolphin sightings  more »
  • My kids loved being able to go onto an actual sailing vessel. We also took the tour and had an excellent time. Our tour guide was funny and engaging as well as knowledgeable. We were able to see dolphins and had some swim very close to the boat. We always enjoy taking this tour.
  • Great presentation and very informative. It's amazing wh as t has been done to restore this ship. Well worth the time and reasonably priced.

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