Field Trip: Learn about the Port and the 1947 Disaster… in Texas City
In this Houston Field Trip series, find places to go and get the resources to study before your trip!
In this trip, see the 9th largest port in the country and learn about one of the largest non-nuclear explosions ever… in Texas City. Look below for a map of the route.
- Texas City Disaster (Archive Video)
- The Texas City Disaster, 1947 (Book)
- Texas City Disaster (Website)
- Texas City Dike (Website)
- Texas City Dike (Archive Video)
1. Texas City Museum – 409 6th St. North, Texas City, TX 77590
At this small museum, you can learn about the Texas City Port and the 1947 disaster.
Just from watching the movie and touring the main floor, you can get a good appreciation for how big the Port of Texas City is, how much traffic comes through each day and just how dangerous it can be.
The 1947 explosion of a ship carrying ammonium nitrate was one of the largest non-nuclear explosions ever. This explosion shattered windows all the way in Houston, flattened buildings in Texas City, caused a 15 foot tidal wave that flooded area and killed 600 people.
Seeing the artifacts, pictures and videos gives me a real respect for the people that work in the Houston area ports each day.
(I should also mention that as visceral as my reaction is to the disaster, the display was not so overwhelming that my kids were scared. They just toured and were interested, but were no worried.)
There is a small admission fee to enter the museum.
2. Texas City Dike – Dike Rd, Texas City, TX 77590
The Texas City Dike was built to protect the Texas City Channel from cross currents. It’s over 5 miles and has boat ramps, picnic shelters and beach! From here you can see lots of ships and the general location of the disaster.
Once you drive on, the long slow road has water on both sides and areas with rocks, with piers and with beach.
On weekends, there is a fee for non-residents to drive onto the dike.
(Rainbow Park is very close to the entrance to the Texas City Dike and is a great spot to play.)
3. Heritage Square Park – 109 3rd Avenue, North Texas City, TX 77590
Between the museum and the dike are historical homes in Heritage Square Park.
I’ve never done the tours, but if you are close by at the right time, you could check it out.
There is free street parking in Texas City. I would drive between stops and repark since it is easy. The Texas City Dike has parking in small lots and on the beach.