Hawkins Squadron Meeting Thursday, September 12: Steamboats!

“Walking Beam” component of USS Clifton, destroyed during the Battle of Sabine Pass in September 1863.

69928556_2554239881281617_2818045793728987136_nPlease join us this coming Thursday evening, September 12, at 1900 for a very special presentation at the Charles E Hawkins Squadron meeting in Galveston where Adm. Justin Parkoff (right), Curator and Maritime Archaeologist with the Houston Maritime Museum, will be our guest at Waterman’s Restaurant, 14302 Stewart Road in Galveston (map here). We will be meeting in the newly-christened Texas Navy Room. Social hour begins at 1800, with the Squadron meeting and program beginning at 1900.

Please RSVP by e-mail no later than Monday, September 9.

Justin will present  “Eastern River Steamboats and their Walking Beam Engines.” During the 19th century, steam technology revolutionized how commerce was conducted on both our inland and coastal waterways. Although the success of these engines started small, continued development led to their broad adoption not only at home, but in transatlantic voyages and trade routes throughout the world.  Early cross-head engines started this work, before giving way to the more economical walking-beam engines. This engine type would later dominate the maritime industry into the mid-20th century, until their eventual replacement by the screw-driven propeller. This talk will examine the history and evolution of the walking beam engine, its inner workings, and explain why this engine stayed in use much longer than any of its counterparts.


Justin is a Texas A&M University graduate who joined the Houston Maritime Museum (HMM) as Curator and Maritime Archaeologist in August. He is trained as a maritime archaeologist with a background in conservation, historic preservation, and museum exhibit design. Prior to joining the HMM, Justin served as an archaeologist and conservator on maritime projects for the U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Texas Historical Commission, and the Cultural Resource Management firm AECOM. These projects involved analyzing artifact assemblages discovered along the Texas Gulf Coast and in the upper Delaware River Valley. He designed and implemented long-term conservation and exhibit plans for these recovered collections.

Justin’s private research focuses on steamship technology and 19th century maritime history. For this reason, Justin has consulted on a variety of projects that analyzed steamship wrecks including the Texas Navy warship Zavala (1842), Perseverance (1856), USS Westfield (1863), USS Hatteras (1863), USS Clifton (1864), and Mary Conley (1873). His background brings a distinct specialty to the Houston Maritime Museum’s mission to inspire knowledge of the maritime world.

Ordering will be handled as previously, at during the meetings previously at Fisherman’s Wharf. Meeting attendees can order off either the full dinner or, for smaller appetites, Waterman’s lunch menu (see menus  here). Checks will be provided individually, and a gratuity built in for separate checks. Suggested pro tip – bring cash in a variety of denominations to settle your check without requiring change or a follow-up signature.

The Texas Navy Association is a private, 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to preserving and promoting the historical legacy of the naval forces of the Republic of Texas, 1835-46. The mission of the Texas Navy Association is to preserve and promote an appreciation of the historic character and heroic acts of the Texas Navy; to promote travel by visitors to historical sites and areas in which the Texas Navy operated; to conduct, in the broadest sense, a public relations campaign to create a responsible and accurate image of Texas; and to encourage Texas communities, organizations, and individuals, as well as governmental entities, to participate with actions and money, in pursuit of these goals. Membership in the Texas Navy Association is open to all persons age 16 and over who have an interest in Texas history and want to help support the goals of the organization.

In Galveston, the Charles E. Hawkins Squadron was organized in the fall of 2016, and meets on the second Thursday in odd-numbered months.


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