History in the News: USS Olympia

History in the News: USS Olympia

The USS Olympia is an American protected cruiser built in 1895 and renowned for being Commodore George Dewey’s flagship during the Battle of Manila Bay, one of the decisive engagements of the Spanish-American War. Olympia was retired from service soon afterwards in 1899 but returned to active duty for a variety of missions from 1902 to 1922. Since 1957 the Olympia has been a museum ship in Philadelphia. The Olympia is the oldest steel-hulled warship afloat, older than her relative contemporary the Japanese pre-dreadnaught Mikasa–also a museum ship in Yokosuka.

USS Olympia

The recent economic downtown has dealt a harsh blow to many historical institutions and Olympia may now be facing a battle it cannot win. The Independence Seaport Museum has stated it can no longer afford the upkeep for the ship and may be forced to scrap the vessel or sink it as an artificial reef. As a result, several groups have come forward and a two year plan has been put into place to find a new home for the Olympia. Although the history of the Olympia is fascinating on its own, the current plight of the ship and the quest to preserve it is intriguing as it gives a glimpse into the difficulties many institutions may face given the modern economic climate.

While several groups are in the running to take over operations of the Olympia, money is still needed to maintain and preserve the ship. Donations of any kind are welcome and the link to donate can be found below.

USS Olympia’s current home at the Independence Seaport Museum :: http://www.phillyseaport.org/

The ongoing effort to find a new home for the Olympia as well as the link to the USS Olympia National Fund, a fund established for the long term preservation of the ship ::http://www.preservationnation.org/travel-and-sites/sites/northeast-region/the-uss-olympia.html

A photographic archive of the Olympia through the years :: http://www.navsource.org/archives/04/c6/c6.htm

Leave a Reply