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The USS Olympia, rusting symbol of America's age of empire
The Washington Post ^ | November 28, 2010 | Chris Manteuffel and Rachel Manteuffel

Posted on 11/30/2010 9:58:29 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet

PHILADELPHIA - The USS Olympia, docked at the Independence Seaport Museum on the Delaware River since 1996, is no ordinary warship. Built for about $2.1 million and commissioned in 1893, the vessel's got Victorian-era ice machines. She's got engines the size of 7-Elevens. If they fail, she's got sails, too.

She's got a printing press, bathtubs, furnishings fit for a gentleman's parlor and a prototype of a water cooler called a "scuttlebutt" around which sailors gathered and talked. She's gorgeous - a priceless artifact of American history, dominating Penn's Landing.

But pricelessness comes with a price. To keep the Olympia afloat, the Seaport Museum needs $20 million, but it hasn't come up with the cash. After spending more than $5.5 million in the past 14 years on the ship's upkeep, appealing to federal agencies for help that isn't coming and weathering a $1.5 million embezzlement scandal that landed its former director in jail for 15 years, the museum announced in February that it can't afford further maintenance. Within three years, experts estimate, the Olympia will fall apart. If it isn't saved, it will be dismantled for scrap or sunk to build an artificial reef off Cape May, N.J.

And with it will go a symbol of America's age of empire. When the Olympia was built, the United States was redefining itself as a global power, taking on expensive, elective wars in ever-more-distant places. The Olympia was the first step toward an imperial navy, the first steel American warship designed to cross an ocean to antagonize an enemy. If, in 1893, it wasn't yet clear who that enemy would be, the Olympia's design flaunted the symbolism of luxury - and the luxury of symbolism....

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...


TOPICS: History; Local News; Military/Veterans
KEYWORDS: history; navy; pennsylvania; ussolympia

1 posted on 11/30/2010 9:58:31 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

BTTT


2 posted on 11/30/2010 10:07:10 PM PST by Cold Heart
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
And with it will go a symbol of America's age of empire.

It would be a bad omen, as I see it. I visited this ship some years ago, and I was quite affected by it as a living embodiment of a bygone age. They had brass foot plates on the spot where Commodore Dewey stood when he spoke the immortal words, "You may fire when ready, Gridley."

Well, this was the first I had ever heard of it! But I had heard of the Battle of Manila Bay.

3 posted on 11/30/2010 10:08:11 PM PST by dr_lew
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

How much money can the victory mosque(shithole) get from our gubmint(5 MILLION) and we cant save this ship?She has been around for a 100 years and they want to scrap it?America,your priorities are really screwed up.


4 posted on 11/30/2010 10:09:12 PM PST by HANG THE EXPENSE (Life is tough.It's tougher when you're stupid.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Take it out of the water and put in in a climate controlled pavilion. That seems to be the good fate of all old ships that end up being preserved.


5 posted on 11/30/2010 10:13:07 PM PST by re_tail20
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
USS Olympia
6 posted on 11/30/2010 10:23:56 PM PST by Old Seadog (Always do a little more than is expected, and someday .....it will be expected.)
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To: HANG THE EXPENSE

She has been around for a 100 years and they want to scrap it?America,your priorities are really screwed up.
______________________________________________________
234 yrs for the Constitution and it appears to be suffering the same fate...


7 posted on 11/30/2010 10:24:25 PM PST by Irenic
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To: re_tail20

I agree. Why do they need to either get the 20 Million or Scrap the Ship? Why not remove her from the Water? Why only the Two choices of destruction or current Funding? Especially as funding will not come.


8 posted on 11/30/2010 10:27:53 PM PST by ZAROVE
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To: Irenic

Dear God, will we ever awaken from this nightmare?


9 posted on 11/30/2010 10:29:25 PM PST by HANG THE EXPENSE (Life is tough.It's tougher when you're stupid.)
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To: Irenic

The Constitution?, they scrapped that old thing years ago.


10 posted on 11/30/2010 10:29:34 PM PST by Husker24
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The U.S.S. Olympia ALSO transported the body of the first “Unknown Soldier” from the battlefields of WW1 back to the U.S.

THAT ALONE should save her.

But, as someone else noted, when you have a spoiled, egomanical, western hating Marxist Muslim in the White House, WHAT DO EXPECT done with our money? Certainly not rescue this - it represents a once proud and great nation. He would rather use taxdollars to generate economic equality and build mosques for fellow Muslim Maniacs.


11 posted on 11/30/2010 10:32:06 PM PST by ZULU (No nation which tried to tolerate Islam escaped Islamization.)
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To: re_tail20
"Take it out of the water and put in in a climate controlled pavilion. That seems to be the good fate of all old ships that end up being preserved."

She's over 5K-ton and almost 350' long. That would be one hell of a pavilion.

It would be great to restore her and sail her again, but I'm sure that would cost well in excess of $100M, just to make her seaworthy again. The $20M they're asking for probably only covers paint and limited minimal repair over a fairly short period of time.

12 posted on 11/30/2010 10:41:36 PM PST by OldDeckHand
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To: OldDeckHand
It would be great to restore her and sail her again, but I'm sure that would cost well in excess of $100M, just to make her seaworthy again.

Seaworthy? How about float-worthy? She hasn't moved in 50 years, from what I can gather.

13 posted on 11/30/2010 11:08:23 PM PST by dr_lew
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I’d like to see more about the Victorian ice machines it had on board. I didn’t realize they had refrigeration back then.


14 posted on 11/30/2010 11:22:21 PM PST by Yardstick
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
The Olympia was a precursor of what we are now. Our present leadership is ashamed of what we are now. Our present leadership won't last.
15 posted on 12/01/2010 12:03:12 AM PST by oyez (The difference in genius and stupidity is that genius has limits.)
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To: Old Seadog

She’s a beauty. Thanks for posting the photo!!

She should be preserved!!!


16 posted on 12/01/2010 12:05:56 AM PST by DustyMoment (Go green - recycle Congress in 2012!!)
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To: HANG THE EXPENSE
She has been around for a 100 years and they want to scrap it?

You no ask question! We Chinese need sclap metar to make automobirres you wirr buy in War-Mart, and amphibious randing claft to take back Taiwan! You no bird nothing! So you sell to us!!!

17 posted on 12/01/2010 12:13:52 AM PST by Captainpaintball
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To: Yardstick
I didn’t realize they had refrigeration back then.

It was based on an absorption cycle instead of the compression cycle used with modern refrigerants. Ammonia was evaporated to provide the cooling, then absorbed by water and driven back into vapor by heating, then condensed and evaporated again. It was relatively inefficient, but was usually driven by waste heat from an industrial boiler, so a ship was a natural for it.

18 posted on 12/01/2010 12:22:44 AM PST by dr_lew
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To: dr_lew
"Seaworthy? How about float-worthy? She hasn't moved in 50 years, from what I can gather. "

When they did some extensive maintenance to the Intrepid a few years ago, they had to tow her to the yard. She had been there (Manhattan Pier 86) I think around 25-years, about half the time as this one. Unfortunately, when they tried to move her she wouldn't budge because of the silt and mud that had built up over that period of time. It took over a month just to drudge enough material to allow her to actually float away.

That problem is probably exponential worse with the Olympia.

19 posted on 12/01/2010 12:26:39 AM PST by OldDeckHand
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To: OldDeckHand
That problem is probably exponential worse with the Olympia.

The Olympia is 5800 tons displacement compared to 33000 tons for the Intrepid, based on internet sources ... so less than 1/5 the size, basically. Also draft is 18 vs. 32 feet, AFAICT.

20 posted on 12/01/2010 12:51:30 AM PST by dr_lew
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I’m going to go out on a limb here, but this old ship, while with an admittedly proud history, is NOT worth the cost to restore it.

If it is worth fixing, someone will pay to do so.

Our tax dollars should not be wasted to keep every old ship in museum condition.


21 posted on 12/01/2010 2:33:34 AM PST by clee1 (We use 43 muscles to frown, 17 to smile, and 2 to pull a trigger. I'm lazy and I'm tired of smiling.)
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To: clee1

Sometimes we need to spend tax money in a worthy cause. Not everything is about money-making. If we lose our tangible history, how will we know where we’ve been?


22 posted on 12/01/2010 2:38:51 AM PST by 2ndDivisionVet (Re: Gov. Sarah Palin: Even the lion has to defend himself against flies. ~German Proverb)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I agree that history is important, but maintaining that history need not include the upkeep/maintenance of a 100+ y/o ship. We know what she did; we have written records and pictures of her accomplishments.

The USS Constitution is one thing... the Olympia is somewhat different to me.

What price do we pay? Where do we draw the line? Sorry, but this Nation has better ways to spend 20 million dollars - and I am not JUST talking about this one ship. We waste BILLIONS a year on all manner of “historical” items/places. Sorry but the Civil War battlefield of Snakes Navel Junction just doesn’t rate as high with me as Interstate repairs of the budget for ICE.


23 posted on 12/01/2010 3:14:39 AM PST by clee1 (We use 43 muscles to frown, 17 to smile, and 2 to pull a trigger. I'm lazy and I'm tired of smiling.)
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To: clee1
Apart from the Dewey/Manilla Bay connection, the Olympia is one of a kind. It's not as if we had a couple dozen of these things sitting around and were debating one more or less. This is the last of the breed.

It's hard to believe $20 million can't be found for this. I don't know anything about the organization, management, and sophistication of the Seaport Museum, but my guess is that the custodians are simply not up to the task. Civic culture plays a role as well. No major city with a competent government would dream of throwing away such an asset, but this is Philadelphia.

A white knight needs to step in. The cost is a small fraction of what will be spent on Superbowl advertising. It's doable, provided the locals are willing to play ball.

I agree that just sitting around and waiting for government to come to the rescue isn't the best solution. But still .... the Obamites just threw away over $800 billion in stimulus money, and a project like this couldn't make the cut? IMHO, something is wrong with the local culture and management team. It is unfortunately not uncommon for opportunities to be missed and treasures to be lost because of failures of leadership.

24 posted on 12/01/2010 3:34:02 AM PST by sphinx (,)
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To: clee1

Of course, let’s keep spending billions on a Department of Energy that has worsened our dependence on foreign oil, approved no new refineries, turned down efforts to build nuclear plants, sides with environmentalt terrorists against wind an solar facilities, and just plain says “NO” to everything.

Of course, lets keep spending billions in a Department of Education that has taken our education system from first to 16th in the world and turns out functional illiterates.

Of course, let’s keep spending billions on TSA to search us unconstitutionally and for ICE who won’t deport illegals.

Sorry pal, but “those who forget the lessons of history are condemned to repeat them.” George Satayana


25 posted on 12/01/2010 3:52:04 AM PST by NTHockey (Rules of engagement #1: Take no prisoners)
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To: sphinx
This is, by the way, an opportunity for the governor-elect. Yes, Pennsylvania is facing a budget crunch and the governor won't have $20 million to throw around casually. But he needs to convene a working group heavy on civic and business leaders and give them a mandate to save the Olympia. By all means the city and the Seaport Museum should be represented, but they should not be the controlling voices. They've already failed.

There are any number of philanthropists and major corporations who could write a check for this, and that would do so if asked properly. Part of the problem, however, is that Philly has bungled its riverfront. It's a classic example of the destructiveness of the automobile uber alles imbecility that has contributed to the destruction of so many urban cores.

Philly historically was one of the world's great seaports. Why anyone, once upon a time, thought it would be smart to drive an interstate highway along the riverfront, sever the city from the river, and make the Seaport Museum difficult to access is beyond me ... but that's the way the carheads think. The Olympia could and should be a premier attraction in one of the most attractive and dynamic parts of the city. There are a lot of mistakes to be undone before that will be possible, but that should be the goal. In the meantime, who's got $20 million?

26 posted on 12/01/2010 4:07:29 AM PST by sphinx (,)
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To: Yardstick

A bit long but worth watching:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-bz7nYGxgo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xa588EDwwiE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiaQdoC92Ls

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRr2FltLwYI (Talks about early AC and refrigeration)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxkaD02iO1g


27 posted on 12/01/2010 4:37:54 AM PST by wally_bert (It's sheer elegance in its simplicity! - The Middleman)
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To: Irenic

too many people on the dole instead of working and supporting things like this.


28 posted on 12/01/2010 4:53:02 AM PST by television is just wrong
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To: Captainpaintball

Pretty much


29 posted on 12/01/2010 5:02:12 AM PST by HANG THE EXPENSE (Life is tough.It's tougher when you're stupid.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Anyone have a picture of this ship?


30 posted on 12/01/2010 5:04:37 AM PST by HANG THE EXPENSE (Life is tough.It's tougher when you're stupid.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

On Lake Michigan a 50-year old ferry almost got $14 million under the stimulus program. All because they need to clean up their act after getting caught dumping coal ash into the lake.

Their sob story was history and heritage and government overreach.

http://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2010/08/ludington_muskegon_again_battl.html


31 posted on 12/01/2010 5:10:54 AM PST by sbMKE
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To: dr_lew

Fishing ships still use ammonia based refrigeration.


32 posted on 12/01/2010 5:47:37 AM PST by Vince Ferrer
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Built for about $2.1 million and commissioned in 1893, the vessel’s got Victorian-era ice machines. She’s got engines the size of 7-Elevens. If they fail, she’s got sails, too. She’s got a printing press, bathtubs, furnishings fit for a gentleman’s parlor and a prototype of a water cooler called a “scuttlebutt” around which sailors gathered and talked.


What’s with the “she’s got” usage here? Whatever happened to “has”?


33 posted on 12/01/2010 6:00:47 AM PST by Atlas Sneezed ("If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested.")
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To: television is just wrong

too many people on the dole instead of working and supporting things like this.
__________________________________________________
Ya know, I’ve pondered the thought— politicians are on the dole.

I read about poorly and flamboyantly spent money by the GOP— “meal expenses jumped from $306,000 to $599,000”
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0210/33324.html

It seems most all of the candidates whine and beg for more and more money, there’s never enough.

John Conyers’ government-registered 2010 Cadillac Escalade, that his son was driving around. Why in the L do they need a Cadillac Escalade?! MSRP: $62,495

Members of Congress are eligible for a pension at age 62 if they have completed at least five years of service. The amount of the pension depends on years of service and the average of the highest three years of salary.
http://www.senate.gov/reference/common/faq/retirement_for_members.shtml

I’ve wondered if we should quit sending money to candidates/GOP and give directly to things we appreciate.

Adopt an elderly person w/o a family, this ship (I like the Hunley)...anything but give to those turds that don’t represent us once they get that seat.

My attitude is for chit of late, I have almost have given up on this mess.

http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/content/view/46780/
http://www.hunley.org/


34 posted on 12/01/2010 6:03:13 AM PST by Irenic
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To: sphinx
This is the last of the breed.

No. There is another

Cruiser Aurora. St Petersburg -

35 posted on 12/01/2010 7:46:38 AM PST by Oztrich Boy (History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce - Karl Marx)
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To: dr_lew

Thanks for that explanation. The 19th century was a great time for interesting inventions. The scale of things hadn’t gone nano yet so everything was very physical and had a great sculpural quality. Even electronic gizmos were interesting with their big coils and physical throw switches and stuff. I’ll bet one of these Victorian refrigeration systems would be fascinating to look at. Probably a total Rube Goldberg maze of tubing and valves and pressure meters — with lots of polished brass. It would be totally steam punk.


36 posted on 12/01/2010 8:08:02 AM PST by Yardstick
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To: wally_bert

Thanks — I’ll check that out after work...


37 posted on 12/01/2010 8:11:41 AM PST by Yardstick
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To: Irenic

all these positions should be a compensatory salary and have them hold down a real job in the real world. they would then not pass such ridiculous laws they would have to live with.


38 posted on 12/01/2010 8:50:43 AM PST by television is just wrong
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To: dr_lew

Read about British colonials in the So. Pac islands using similar to make ice. Forget the name but would have been circa [very] early 1900s.


39 posted on 12/01/2010 9:14:28 AM PST by urtax$@work (The best ki,nd of memorial is a Burning Memorial.........)
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To: Beelzebubba

Ships are traditionally referred to as females.


40 posted on 12/01/2010 12:21:35 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet (Re: Gov. Sarah Palin: Even the lion has to defend himself against flies. ~German Proverb)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Yes, but I was referring to the “got” versus “has.”


41 posted on 12/01/2010 12:54:17 PM PST by Atlas Sneezed ("If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested.")
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To: sphinx

“It’s hard to believe $20 million can’t be found for this.”

Bill Gates probably has lost that much under his sofa cushions.


42 posted on 12/01/2010 2:33:42 PM PST by TexasRepublic (Socialism is the gospel of envy and the religion of thieves)
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To: OldDeckHand
That problem is probably exponential worse with the Olympia.

The big problem with Olympia is that she has to be maintained by Philadelphia union workers, which really jacks up the cost.

43 posted on 12/01/2010 2:39:03 PM PST by PapaBear3625 ("It is only when we've lost everything, that we are free to do anything" -- Fight Club)
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To: Beelzebubba

“she’s has” just does not sound right.


44 posted on 12/01/2010 4:12:07 PM PST by Principle Over Politics (When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary...)
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To: AdmSmith; Arthur Wildfire! March; Berosus; bigheadfred; ColdOne; Convert from ECUSA; Delacon; ...

Thanks 2ndDivisionVet.

http://www.google.com/search?q=USS+Olympia+site:freerepublic.com


45 posted on 12/02/2010 5:18:43 PM PST by SunkenCiv (The 2nd Amendment follows right behind the 1st because some people are hard of hearing.)
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