Elissa (ship)

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Career (United Kingdom, Norway, Sweden, United States)
Name: Elissa
General characteristics
Displacement: 620 tons.
Length: 141 ft (43 m)
Beam: 28 ft (8.5 m)
Draft: 10 ft 6 in (3.20 m) .
Capacity: 430 tons cargo
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
U.S. National Historic Landmark
Location: Galveston, Texas
Coordinates: 29°18′34″N 94°47′37″W / 29.30943°N 94.793601°W / 29.30943; -94.793601Coordinates: 29°18′34″N 94°47′37″W / 29.30943°N 94.793601°W / 29.30943; -94.793601
Built/Founded: 1877
Architect: Alexander Hall & Sons
Architectural style(s): Three-masted Barque
Added to NRHP: March 21, 1978[1]
Designated NHL: December 14, 1990[2]
NRHP Reference#: 78002930

The tall ship Elissa is a three-masted barque. She is currently moored in Galveston, Texas, and is one of the oldest ships sailing today.

The Elissa was built in Aberdeen, Scotland as a merchant vessel in a time when steamships were overtaking sailing ships. She was originally launched on October 27, 1877. According to the descendants of Henry Fowler Watt, the Elissa's builder, she was named for the Queen of Carthage, Elissa (more commonly called Dido), Aeneas' tragic lover in the epic poem The Aeneid.

The Elissa also sailed under Norwegian and Swedish flags. In Norway she was known as the Fjeld of Tønsberg and her master was Captain Herman Andersen. In Sweden her name was Gustav of Gothenburg.

The Elissa has an iron hull, and the pin rail and bright work is made of teak. Her masts are made of Douglas fir from Oregon, and her 19 sails were made in Maine. She has survived numerous modifications including installation of an engine, and the incremental removal of all her rigging and masts.

The foremast of the Elissa in port.

The Elissa was rescued from destruction by ship preservationists who found her languishing in a salvage yard in Piraeus, Greece. She was purchased for $40,000, in 1975, by the Galveston Historical Foundation, her current owners. In 1979, after a year in Greece having repairs done to her hull, the Elissa was towed to Galveston. There the restoration process continued.

The Elissa made her first voyage as a restored sailing ship in 1985, traveling to Corpus Christi, Texas. A year later, she sailed to New York City to take part in the Statue of Liberty's centennial celebrations.

When she's not sailing, the Elissa is moored at the Texas Seaport Museum in Galveston. Public tours are available year-round-provided she is not out sailing. The ship is sailed and maintained by qualified volunteers, who come from various places in East Texas.



  1. "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. http://www.nr.nps.gov/. 
  2. "Elissa (Bark)". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. http://tps.cr.nps.gov/nhl/detail.cfm?ResourceId=1794&ResourceType=Structure. Retrieved 2009-07-03. 
  3. State symbols, Texas State Library, http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/ref/abouttx/symbols.html 

External links

fr:Elissa (voilier) no:«Fjeld»