USS Olympia a national treasure worth saving

Posted: 08/01/2011 in all marine news

News Chief – 

By rights, the USS Olympia should be one of our nation’s most-treasured, best-cared-for naval artifacts.

The Olympia was launched in 1892. According to her website, she is the world’s oldest floating steel warship and the sole surviving naval ship of the Spanish-American War.

It was from her bridge that Adm. George Dewey issued his famous order, “You may fire when ready, Gridley,” the beginning of the U.S. Navy’s crushing defeat of Spain at the battle of Manila Bay, a victory that launched the U.S. into the ranks of the world’s naval superpowers.

The Olympia’s final official naval mission was the returning of the body of the Unknown Soldier from France in 1921.

The Olympia is open to visitors and offers a remarkably instructive look at how the seamen of the day lived and worked. Indeed, those sailors were a tough breed.

The Olympia is berthed at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia, but the museum is no longer financially able to look after the elderly warship. She needs $10 million in repairs to the hull and deck, on top of the $5.4 million the museum has already spent, plus another $10 million or so to build a new site for the Olympia and to start an endowment for future repairs.

Full story… 

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