Skip to comments.The USS Olympia, rusting symbol of America's age of empire
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 ...
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.
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.
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 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...
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.
Dear God, will we ever awaken from this nightmare?
The Constitution?, they scrapped that old thing years ago.
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.
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.
Seaworthy? How about float-worthy? She hasn't moved in 50 years, from what I can gather.
I’d like to see more about the Victorian ice machines it had on board. I didn’t realize they had refrigeration back then.
She’s a beauty. Thanks for posting the photo!!
She should be preserved!!!
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!!!
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.
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.
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.
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