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Historic Texas ship the Elissa to celebrate 143rd birthday with dockside party

The Elissa
The Elissa (Pixabay)

The Official Tall Ship of Texas, the Elissa is celebrating its 143rd trip around the sun.

The Galveston Historical Foundation is commemorating the occasion with a seaport celebration on Saturday, Oct. 24.

The socially-distanced event is limiting attendance to 75 people. Guests must purchase a ticket to attend. Tickets run $75 per person. Celebratory cake, complimentary beer, dockside music, and a special gift are included with the ticket purchase.

All guests are required to wear a mask except when eating or drinking. Multiple handwashing stations will be provided and guests are asked to remain 6 feet or more from any individuals not in their group. For more information on the festivities, click here.

The Elissa, an iron-hulled, three-masted barque, is one of the oldest ships still sailing. She launched in 1877 from Aberdeen, Scotland, and for the next 90 odd years, the ship lugged commercial cargo to and from North America, South America, Europe and elsewhere. Through the years, the ship changed hands and names multiple times, sometimes going by Fjeld, Gustaf, Christophoros and Achaios, according to the Texas State Historical Association. Elissa docked in Galveston in 1883 and again in 1886.

In 1978, the Galveston Historical Foundation brought the ship from Greece to Galveston, restored the vessel and converted it into a floating museum. Now berthed at Pier 21 in Galveston, the ship is one of the island’s most-visited attractions (aside from its beaches) and receives some 60,000 visitors each year. Fun fact: In 1978 the ship became the first item outside the United States to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places, according to the Texas State Historical Association.


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