USS Olympia

Been spending some time aboard the cruiser USS Olympia lately, helping volunteers and Naval cadets with repairs and sprucing up. I’ve been spending most of my time climbing on those winch arms (“davits”) up by the prow.

The USS Olympia was Commodore George Dewey’s flagship during the Battle of Manila Bay in 1898. It is the oldest steel hull battleship still afloat. She is the sole survivor of the US Navy’s Spanish-American War fleet. Unfortunately, the hull is in danger of giving out, and about $10M is needed to repair and stabilize the ship. Historic steel-hulled ships should be drydocked for maintenance every twenty years, but Olympia has been in the water continuously since 1945.

At the moment, Olympia’s future is uncertain; the Independence Seaport Museum is no longer able to fund the preservation costs for Olympia, and may have to sell the ship for scrap or sink her as an artificial reef. An independent non-profit corporation known as The Cruiser Olympia Historical Society was recently organized with the goal of preserving Olympia, but The US Navy has dropped the Olympia from budget requests year after year.

The USS Olympia will close to visitors on November 22, 2010, due to the poor material condition of the ship and a lack of operating funds.

Those interested in helping to save this unique piece of naval history should contact The Cruiser Olympia Historical Society.

(I know I had promised a more pleasant post this time. Apologies.)

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3 Responses to USS Olympia

  1. Anonymous says:

    I and the Olympia herself thank thee milord. It was quite an honor to have you aboard that day. Those davits have never looked so good!

    Your ever faithful,
    Madame Madigan

  2. Dragontech64 says:

    It is a shame that we could not get some sort of input or aid from the National Park Service to preserve this ancient and important piece of history.

  3. Lord Whimsy says:

    I wonder how much the lower ranking people can do. I know of some people in the Park Service who would love to save the ship. It’s a matter of political will, I’d imagine.