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USS Olympia in danger of scrapping (Admiral Dewey's flagship in the Spanish-American War)

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Dennis Donovan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 05:28 PM
Original message
USS Olympia in danger of scrapping (Admiral Dewey's flagship in the Spanish-American War)
http://sundaygazettemail.com/Life/Travel/201005270677

PHILADELPHIA -- The old warship has been part of Philadelphia's waterfront for 50 years and left lasting impressions on thousands of visitors who heard gripping stories of its role in the Spanish-American War.

Now the Olympia -- the last surviving vessel from that 1898 conflict -- could face an ignoble end as an artificial reef off Cape May, N.J., if a new benefactor cannot be found.

The Independence Seaport Museum and the Navy have already checked with officials of New Jersey's Artificial Reef Program on the possibility of sinking the ship, once a source of national pride.

"Another option would be scrapping Olympia,'' said James McLean, interim president of the museum, which owns the ship and is adjacent to it at Penn's Landing. "But the Navy has told us that 'reefing' is better because it would allow divers to go down on it and would preserve Olympia.''

The museum can no longer afford the ship's upkeep, McLean said. At least $20 million is needed to tow, restore, interpret and endow the deteriorating vessel.
</snip>




I am speechless. This is one of the most historic vessels afloat... :(
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ChairmanAgnostic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 05:30 PM
Response to Original message
1. every boat is merely a hole in the water. Ask Noah.
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Dennis Donovan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 05:32 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Noah is a myth. Admiral Dewey (despite being a tool of Imperialists) was not...
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 05:31 PM
Response to Original message
2. I don't think it has a chance of being scrapped, actually.
I am a volunteer on an historic vessel and this one is unique.

The Navy ultimately owns all its museum vessels.

Now, down the river, this one probably WILL be scrapped:

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arcadian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 05:34 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. That's too bad about the SS United States
Be nice if some cruise ship company outfitted for doing nostalgia style cruises to Europe or something.
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Dennis Donovan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 05:43 PM
Response to Reply #4
9. Her sailing days are over, unfortunately...
Her hull is still quite sound, according to the NCL surveys that took place back in 2004, but her oil-burning powerplants are expensive to run and virtually useless now. If she could be used for anything, it would be as a static attraction/floating convention center (her interior was completely removed in 1994-1995, so she's an empty canvass, so to speak)...
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Dennis Donovan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 05:38 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. Hi Cap'n! I'm gravely worried about SSUS, as well...
The thought of scrapping/reefing Olympia seems unbelievable to me as well. There are so few warships left of that era (the Japanese Mikasa and the Russian Aurora come to mind).

What boat do you volunteer on?
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 05:41 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. SS United States is the coolest ship not designed to kill. Awesome! nt
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Dennis Donovan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 05:55 PM
Response to Reply #8
13. The coolest AND the fastest! Reported top speed was 44 mph!!
That is BOOKING for such a huge structure!! :wow:
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 09:07 PM
Response to Reply #13
19. Using only 6 of 8 boilers! One of THE most awesome ships EVER - when
it was about to leave Norfolk, they had an auction, a sale and an open house. So, I got to run around on it.

I still have an SS UNITED STATES room key for a key chain!
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Dennis Donovan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 09:44 PM
Response to Reply #19
26. Yep - she had power to spare!
You went to the 1984 auction?? I am VERY jealous!! :bounce:

I have a DVD that was made from a video someone shot while touring the ship before the auction. She was just as she was 15 years previous when she was withdrawn from service - like a time capsule!
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 09:50 PM
Response to Reply #26
29. Okay, we'll have to talk about that DVD!!!
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Dennis Donovan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 10:10 PM
Response to Reply #29
35. Even better - here's a link where you can purchase it!
Edited on Tue Jun-08-10 10:12 PM by Dennis Donovan
http://www.photoscenics.us /

Wayne Forth (the creator) covered nearly every INCH of the ship!!

:hi:
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Old Troop Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 05:48 PM
Response to Reply #2
11. I just came back to Philly after more than 20 years away and was
startled to see the SS United States still in the slip that she had been when I was here last. Can you get aboard her to see what's left?
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Dennis Donovan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 05:53 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. Back when it was owned by the late Edward Cantor, he allowed people to go aboard...
...but NCL has severely restricted access to it. Her interiors were removed 15 years ago, so there's not much to see anymore.
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 09:09 PM
Response to Reply #11
20. Scout the Internet for 'fan' associations. I know it has one. That might increase your
chances of getting on board.

I know they want to have the stacks painted and lighted up at night.
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IDemo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 09:14 PM
Response to Reply #2
23. My family sailed on the United States between France & New York
In 1963. I was only six at the time, so don't have a great many memories of it.
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 09:28 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. Cool! I'm still jealous! The "The Munsters" from the TV show also had an episode on the SSUS. nt
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IDemo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 09:58 PM
Response to Reply #24
32. Wish I could retake the voyage now
I thought it was towed to Turkey to be scrapped out years ago and was surprised when I found it still existed. That's going to take a lot of loving care, if she is to be brought back even as a museum.
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petronius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 05:37 PM
Response to Original message
5. Nothing ignoble about reefing!
I just wish they'd move it around to the West Coast, first... :)
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 05:41 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. I think it will end up next to WISCONSIN in Norfolk - near a military population
and facilities that will generate a large group of volunteers.

Every damned time I've been to Leningrad/St. Petersburg AURORA has been closed!!!!!!
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Dennis Donovan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 05:58 PM
Response to Reply #7
14. I'd love to see Aurora, too!


Although every time I see her, I think of the movie "Battleship Potempkin":
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 09:11 PM
Response to Reply #14
22. First time I saw it in 1980 it had chunks of hull falling off near the water line. Eeeek! nt
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Dennis Donovan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 09:47 PM
Response to Reply #22
27. By 1980, the USSR was hurting for $$$, so I'd guess the upkeep of a relic was low on their list...
...unless that relic was Lenin himself:


:D
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 09:49 PM
Response to Reply #27
28. In 1993 I was able to walk right up to Lenin and stand for a while to scrutinize him.
VERY nice suit and tie, but his ears have shrunken.

In the book The Greatest Battle, about the battle for Moscow, they interview a guy who helped take care of Lenin during the war. Fascinating!
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Dennis Donovan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 10:14 PM
Response to Reply #28
36. There's a job that MIGHT be worse than being Al Qaeda's #2 man!
Injecting old Vlad with formaldehyde! Blech!!! :puke: :D
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Dennis Donovan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 07:31 PM
Response to Reply #5
17. I agree about reefing, but reef the ones WITHOUT such a rich history...
The James River and Suisun Bay Reserve Fleets are full of 'em. :thumbsup:
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burnsei sensei Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 05:44 PM
Response to Original message
10. There has to be a place for it as a museum ship.
It's too important to lose.
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Sebastian Doyle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 09:56 PM
Response to Reply #10
31. Seems that the obvious home for a boat named "Olympia"
would BE in Olympia. :shrug:
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Dennis Donovan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 10:18 PM
Response to Reply #31
38. Or in Olympia Dukakis' swimming pool?
:rofl:
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msongs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 06:04 PM
Response to Original message
15. cancel a nuke sub or destroyer and spend it on history of folly nt
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 09:11 PM
Response to Reply #15
21. The USNavy doesn't give a shit about its history. For example, Taiwan has two mint condition
GUPPY submarines. Folks in the naval history world are hoping that the USN buys them back for $5 apiece and brings them home.

My dad served on one of them that has been in continuous service since 1944!!!!! USS CUTLASS.

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Dennis Donovan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 07:24 PM
Response to Original message
16. Another story about USS Olympia's peril:
http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2010/0531/M...

By Allen C. Guelzo / May 31, 2010

Gettysburg, Pa.
The USS Olympia was best known for serving as the flagship for Commodore George Dewey and the little squadron of warships that resoundingly defeated the Spanish Navy at the Battle of Manila Bay in 1898.

You may fire when you are ready, Gridley, said the imperturbable Dewey to his flag captain, C.V. Gridley. In a legendary feat of naval prowess, Gridley swept the Spanish ships away without a single American battle casualty.

Now for the surprise: The very spot on the Olympias bridge where Dewey gave Gridley that order can still be seen, since the USS Olympia floats today, 112 years after the battle, at the Independence Seaport Museum on Philadelphias waterfront.

Philadelphia has been Olympias home since she was decommissioned in 1922, the year after she brought home the body of The Unknown Soldier in state from France.

Not for long, though.

The museum recently declared that it can no longer afford the ships upkeep. Repairs to the ships corroding steel hull are estimated at $20 million. Instead, the museum is leaning toward having her towed to Cape May, and sunk yes, sunk as an artificial reef.

Theres something slightly unsettling in these times to talk about lavishing resources on an artifact of war especially a war which launched the United States toward acquiring a colonial empire in Asia and creating a corrupt client-state in Cuba. Saving the Olympia simply strikes us as too much like saving your great-great-grandmothers hoop-skirt too irrelevant to be interesting, or else too suggestive of a lifestyle weve junked.
</snip>


Here's a web site dedicated to saving her:
http://www.fotco.org /

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Rhiannon12866 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 08:56 PM
Response to Original message
18. Yikes! This magnificent vessel is an important part of history! K&R.
Keeping history alive is a vital part of our heritage. Once it's gone, it's gone forever. We already forget soon enough... ;(
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Dennis Donovan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 09:40 PM
Response to Reply #18
25. She's certainly worth the effort to save her...
Even if Dewey DIDN'T utter "...you may fire when ready Gridley" on her bridge, she's a VERY rare example of a pre-Dreadnought steel warship! :thumbsup: :hi:
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Rhiannon12866 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 09:50 PM
Response to Reply #25
30. And an important part of history, which might otherwise be forgotten.
With no one left to tell the story, this ship can serve to bring the facts of that long-ago war - and that era - alive, for generations to come. ;) :hi:
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Dennis Donovan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 10:08 PM
Response to Reply #30
34. I've been on her a few times years ago. Except for slight modification during WW1...
...she's pretty much as she was in Dewey's time. And, don't forget... Dewey went on to defeat Truman:


:rofl:
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Rhiannon12866 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 10:34 PM
Response to Reply #34
41. Then it is well worth preserving, the closer it is to the historical accuracy of its time.
Edited on Tue Jun-08-10 10:40 PM by Rhiannon12866
This ship is old enough to have been of historical interest to the latter Dewey... :silly:

There's nothing like hands-on learning, seeing historical artifacts up close and personal, to make a real impact on younger students of history and to engender a life-long interest. I had that advantage as a kid, lived near and visited many historic places. I wish I still had the opportunity... :(
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guitar man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 10:04 PM
Response to Original message
33. Nooo!!
Dammit don't scrap it. :grr:

I cried when they scrapped the Des Moines recently, I participated in the effort to save her but we just couldn't do it :(
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Dennis Donovan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 10:16 PM
Response to Reply #33
37. I know! If it's any consolation, at least a ship of her class still exists - the USS Salem:
Edited on Tue Jun-08-10 11:13 PM by Dennis Donovan
http://www.uss-salem.org /

Were you part of the effort that ultimately got the USS Edson?
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 10:31 PM
Response to Reply #37
40. I was just in the Philly Navy Yard grabbing parts for my beloved vessel.
We were on THOMAS A. GATES.

We saw: staterooms with four bunks with four separate soap holders.
Staterooms with two bunks and four separate soap holders.
A bathroom in officers' country with a marble sink top and a white vanity underneath!!!!
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guitar man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 11:17 PM
Response to Reply #37
43. I know
The last all gun fast heavy cruiser in existence that I know of. I hope they never scrap the Salem.

Once it was clear the Des Moines was a lost ball, I dropped out, my heart just wasn't in it anymore. My dad was a cruiser sailor, served aboard the USS St Paul from 47-51. Far east, occupation forces in Japan,he was a China sailor and wound up in Korea in 50-51 as a shore fire control spotter for the St Paul. Came back with two purple hearts. If there was a ship that should have never been scrapped, it was CA-73, such a rich history.

Anyway, I volunteered where I could, sending emails, making phone calls and whatever to try and help raise money for the Des Moines as a way to honor Dad's service. I came to it way late in the game though. So sad they had to scrap her. Heavy cruisers are just poetry in motion.
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 10:29 PM
Response to Reply #33
39. SALEM is in limbo. nt
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tuckessee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-10 11:01 PM
Response to Original message
42. It's inevitable.
As American demographics change over the next few generations, the new nation will not want to pay the upkeep nor will it have any interest in monuments to European/White/Anglo imperialism.

Monuments erected by and for the English speaking North Americans will fade away into nothing.

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Rhiannon12866 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-09-10 03:10 AM
Response to Reply #42
44. But if we make no effort to preserve history, how will we remember?
Whether we approve of the facts of history, or not, it is the only way we have of remembering our past. Does the Pearl Harbor Memorial evoke a good part of our history? Of course not, but we preserve it so we can remember.

I've been to Russia. During WWII, the czar's former palace was reduced to little more than rubble. Do the Russian people look at this as a high point in their history, when the wealthy were out of touch with the masses, accumulating wealth while the common people starved? Of course not. But the Russian people resurrected the original plans and have rebuilt, down to the smallest mosaic in the floors, because it is their history and they need to preserve it - to remember.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
George Santayana
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HooptieWagon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-09-10 06:51 AM
Response to Original message
45. Wow! I had no idea the Olympia still existed.
I'll be visiting Philly later in the summer, I'll have to be sure to visit the museum.
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