I Dream of Galveston: Seawolf Park

Seawolf Park, a popular fishing spot, features a three-story pavilion, the USS Cavalla, the USS Stewart, a fishing pier, and a children’s playground. The park was built on an immigration station site.

USS Cavalla

Seawolf Park as seen from the Galveston-Bolivar Ferry. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The USS Cavalla is berthed in Seawolf Park as a memorial to the lost submarine USS Seawolf. The Cavalla was a Gato class fleet sub, designed and built in the summer of 1943 by the Electric Boat Company and launched on November 14, 1943. She was commissioned on February 29, 1944. On June 19, 1944, on her maiden patrol, she sank the 30,000 ton aircraft carrier Shokaku—a veteran of Pearl Harbor and Battle of Coral Sea. This earned her the Presidential Unit Citation.

The Cavalla was decommissioned after the war (1946). She was brought back to service in 1951 and assigned to the Submarine Squadron 10 in New London, Connecticut. To meet the Soviet threat, she underwent conversion in 1952 to a new class of American sub—the SSK (hunter/killer).

On January 21, 1971, the U.S. Navy transferred possession of Cavalla to the Texas Submarine Veterans of WWII. The Cavalla was then delivered to her permanent berth in Seawolf Park.

USS Stewart

One of only two surviving destroyer escorts in the United States, the USS Stewart is berthed at Seawolf Park alongside the historic submarine, USS Cavalla.

Built at Brown Shipbuilding Company in Houston, Texas in 1942, and commissioned May 31, 1943, the 307 foot destroyer escort USS Stewart, is the second ship named for Rear Admiral Charles Stewart, commander of the USS Constitution from 1813 to 1815. Stewart began her service as a school ship, training student officers prior to escorting President Roosevelt in the presidential yacht down the Potomac River to rendezvous with USS Iowa in the Chesapeake Bay for his mission to Casablanca and Tehran.

Seawolf Park as seen from the Galveston-Bolivar Ferry. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

She commenced North Atlantic convoy operations in 1944, making 30 crossings with occasional enemy submarine and aircraft encounters. Stewart was moved to the Pacific theater in 1945, to conduct training exercises out of Pearl Harbor until the end of the war.

Decommissioned in late 1945, she was formally donated to Seawolf Park in 1972.

Phone: (409)797-5114

Website: cavalla244.org

Admission: $6/vehicle; seniors $3/vehicle

RV Park

Plans are moving forward for an RV park at Seawolf Park, a project estimated to cost nearly $2 million.

Seawolf Park as seen from the Galveston-Bolivar Ferry. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Park Board of Trustees approved $120,000 from Federal Emergency Management Agency public works funds to pay for an architectural company’s engineering and administration fees to get the project started.

In a budget update to the park board, Randall-Porterfield Architects estimated the RV campground will cost $1.89 million and include 44 RV spaces.

It is expected that within the next six months, the park board will be ready to accept bids on construction of the RV Park. The RV site will be developed on about 4 acres left of the entrance to the park and west of the parking lot at Seawolf Park.

Please Note: This is the seventh in a series of stories on favorite Galveston attractions

Texas Spoken Friendly

Let your memory be your travel bag.

Worth Pondering…
Galveston, oh Galveston, I am so afraid of dying
Before I dry the tears she’s crying
Before I watch your sea birds flying in the sun
At Galveston, at Galveston.

—Glen Campbell

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