Noting it will boost tourism, inspire patriotism and serve as an economic catalyst for Southern Dallas and the Trinity Corridor area, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and other local leaders today unveiled plans to build the Dallas Maritime Museum, which will feature U.S. Navy and other vessels that may have borne the name Dallas in active maritime service or have a connection to the North Texas region. The news conference was held at the 3.5-acre site of the museum, located in the Cedars neighborhoods on the banks of the Trinity River and minutes from downtown Dallas and the Dallas Convention Center.
Joining Mayor Rawlings for the announcement were Mayor Pro Tem Pauline Medrano, Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Tennell Atkins, Matthews Southwest CEO Jack Matthews, Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau president/CEO Phillip Jones and veterans of the U.S. Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines. The Navy JROTC Eagle Battalion of Dallas ISD’s Wilmer Hutchins High School presented the colors and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
The proposed $80 million museum will feature a 30,000 square foot museum facility, theater and event plaza along with three berths to house maritime vessels, which will be installed along the Trinity River. The Dallas office of global architectural firm RTKL has been tapped to design the museum.
Plans are in the works for the U.S.S. Dallas submarine to occupy the first berth. It will be the first and only modern-attack nuclear submarine to be viewed out of the water by the general public.
“The U.S.S. Dallas is the Navy’s second ship of that name, and the first to be named for the city of Dallas,” said Rollie Stevens, Captain, USN (Retired) and president of the Dallas Maritime Museum Foundation. “It’s a great honor that Dallas will be the final resting place for the our city’s namesake vessel.”
Stevens says the U.S.S. Dallas was launched on April 28, 1979, sponsored by Mrs. William P. Clements, Jr., and commissioned on July 18, 1981. The vessel is nearing the end of her operational service and will be decommissioned over the next few years.
The U.S.S. Dallas submarine gained notoriety when it was featured in the popular Tom Clancy thriller Hunt For Red October, which was later made into a blockbuster film starring Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin and James Earl Jones. The U.S.S. Dallas is 362 feet long and 33 feet wide; its dead weight is 375 long tons (NOTE: a long ton is 2,240 lbs.); and, at full displacement, it is 6,143 long tons.
Stevens added that the Dallas Maritime Museum Foundation board also is “working very hard to secure another vessel for the second berth, a vessel with enormous historical significance that will draw national and international attention.”
The Dallas Maritime Museum will be an educational asset that will host thousands of schoolchildren every year who will tour the various vessels and participate in all kinds of interactive activities. The education offerings will be STEM-based to encourage young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math. Stevens believes that visits to the museum will help students learn about civics and American history, instill patriotic pride in the United States and inspire interest in military service.
Also planned are overnight programs for Boy and Girl Scout troops, camps and youth groups. The new museum also will be available for event rentals, including weddings, receptions, business meetings and more.
The Dallas Maritime Museum will be operated by the Dallas Maritime Museum Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation founded in 2009, whose mission is to create a living memorial to celebrate and honor the contributions that North Texas has made to the maritime services of the United States.
Dallas Maritime Museum
The Dallas Maritime Museum site is located at 1501 S. Riverfront, Dallas, Texas 75207. For more information, go to dmmf.org or call 214-273-3702.