Gunship lurking on Lake Travis will soon be history

Historical ship prop sits on the lake but will be history by this weekend.

LAKE TRAVIS (KXAN) — An armored boat carrying cannons and lurking on the waters of Lake Travis will soon be history.

Nolan Charlson was enjoying his last day on the ironclad gunboat he built. He’ll be tearing it down on Friday.

“There was 30 different Civil War gun ships, so we picked out what would be the coolest one,” said Charlson. “(We) handed our guys pictures and said, ‘alright guys, here’s your lumber, your steel, and this is what we came up with,” he said, pointing at the ship.

The building of the ship replica was commissioned by the Hays County Historical Commission as part of a future educational film.

It took 15 men more than four days to build. And that was just to construct the two sides needed for filming.

The film centers around Col. Peter Woods, from Hays County, and his gunboat fight along the Red River.

Charlson was in charge of constructing the replica of the USS Cairo atop a barge.

“We had four and a half days to have a finished product for shoot,” he added. “So basically a truck load of lumber, 40 gallons of paint and 600 bolts later we ended up with an iron clad Civil War gun ship.”

The director only needed a view from one angle. The rest was as hollow as a Hollywood set.

With the shoot complete, 34-by-80 foot ship will also be history.

“We hate tearing it apart after everything we did to put it together,” said Charlson. “It’s all scrap now.” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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