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tv   Tall Ship Elissa  CSPAN  March 8, 2015 10:24am-10:30am EDT

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>> american history tv is featuring the city of galveston, texas. caller miles -- two miles off the shore. c-span staff visited sites showcasing the city's history. learn more about galveston on american history tv. ♪ >> with the explosion and the growing price of cotton, and some other commodities galveston became a wealthy city. , the only way that wealth could leave here was on the decks of sailing ships.
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illicit -- elissa had a vital role in telling the economic story of galveston. elissa was built 1877 in scotland. she has a riveted iron hull. she is classified as a barge. she has three masts. she was a merchant ship. she was part of the vast british conglomerate of sailing vessels.
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she was more of a tramp sailor. there were ships bigger than she was. i tell people she was the equivalent of about a ups truck or fedex truck. not a big 18 wheeler. there were a lot of ships larger. her niche was to go into undeveloped ports that did not have a lot of water depth. she could offload her cargo, loaded new cargo and that is how she would make her living. >> with the opening of the suez canal in 1869, sailing ships were almost dealt a death blow. with the opening of the canal, coal-fired ships had a shorter route to the far east and india and all those markets. sailing ships needed to find a way to make their own living. instead of high-value cargo,
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they started carrying lower value cargo. cold, oil, cotton, etc. elissa found her niche in carrying any kind of cargo that did not require getting to market at a fast pace. elissa's connection to galveston is unique in that she sailed and arrived here in galveston 100 yards from where we are standing right now back in 1883 with a cargo full of bananas. she came a second time later on in the 1880's in 1886. it was important for galveston historical foundation to find a vessel that had a connection. the fact that she was a sailing vessel was all the more important. >> take it up. that is a terrible habit.
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ease slack into the gear, not on automatic command. >> in the 1970's, elissa fell upon hard times. she'd been at sea for 100 years. she has one of the longest careers as a merchant vessel. the galveston historical foundation were made aware of elissa's plight and the connection to galveston and gears were put into motion to purchase the ship. she was purchased and brought to galveston in 1979 and the complete restoration of the ship began. she is involved with seamanship training. once a year, we take the vessel out into the gulf of mexico and our volunteers learn how to sail the ship. it is one thing reading about
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sailing in books. to climb the rigging and feel the ship brave and move while you are sailing is a unique opportunity available to those who join our volunteer program. here are the texas seaport museum. >> throughout the weekend, american history tv is featuring galveston, texas. our staff recently traveled there to learn about its rich history. learn more about galveston and other stops at www.c-span.org/citiestour. you are watching american history tv. all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. each week american history tv's american artifacts visits museums and historical places. we travel about 15 miles northwest of washington, d.c. to great falls tavern visitor center. we'll take a boat

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