The American Undersea Warfare Center is now the Galveston Naval Museum and is co-located within Seawolf Park and sits on Pelican Island. In the early 1800s, Pelican Island was just a small salt marsh, but was made into a man-made island to help protect the growing Galveston harbor and docks from the effects of the larger Galveston Bay.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Pelican Island was used as an immigration and quarantine station where over 30,000 ships were inspected and 750,000 immigrants entered the United States. This led to an island nickname, “Ellis Island of the South.”
In the 1950s and ‘60s, Galveston grew into a history-focused resort town. In 1971, the US Submarine Veterans of World War II, Texas or “Sub-Vets” as they became known, worked with local and state governments to dedicate a portion of Pelican Island to the memory of submariners lost during WWII. The park was named Seawolf Park in honor of the USS Seawolf, a WWII submarine lost at sea with 83 crew and 17 US Army Rangers aboard.
At that time, the U.S. Navy transferred possession of the submarine, USS Cavalla to the Sub-Vets and the boat was towed from Orange, Texas where it was to be sold for scrap metal, to Galveston.
Three years later, the USS Stewart was also saved from the Orange, Texas scrap heap when the State of Texas bought her for $1.00 to be restored and displayed alongside USS Cavalla at Seawolf Park.
On only a few acres of land, you can do so much; discover history, play, fish and picnic. Bring lunch or try to catch it right off the pier! Watch all the different types of shipping pass close aboard; cruise liners, freighters, shrimp boats, coast guard cutters, and oilers. Catch pelicans flying in V-formation or diving in water competing with the many anglers wading off shore. Look hard and you can see frolicking dolphins chasing the boats, or hawks sitting atop the USS Stewart’s “Crow’s Nest.” Nature abounds at Seawolf Park—bring a camera!
The park offers one of the island's most popular fishing piers, picnic sites and a playground. The remains of the tanker S.S. Selma, the largest concrete ship constructed, can be seen northwest of the park's fishing pier. Come spend the day fishing, picnicking and experiencing history all in one spot—Seawolf Park!