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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  Cas City Historical Society (Moderators: St. George, Silver Creek Slim)  |  Topic: USS Olympia, 2-war naval veteran, battles for survival 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: USS Olympia, 2-war naval veteran, battles for survival  (Read 2876 times)
Story
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« on: September 06, 2010, 08:34:11 am »


Of the period, if not exactly a Cowboy thing (unless you count the cowboys who grew up to go into the Navy) but of interest to anyone who gives a damn about preserving our heritage

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The USS Olympia, a one-of-a-kind steel cruiser that returned home to a hero's welcome after a history-changing victory in the Spanish-American War, is a proud veteran fighting what may be its final battle.

Time and tides are conspiring to condemn the weathered old warrior to a fate two wars failed to inflict. Without a major refurbishment to its aging steel skin, the Olympia either will sink at its moorings on the Delaware River, be sold for scrap, or be scuttled for an artificial reef just off Cape May, N.J., about 90 miles south.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_ENDANGERED_WARSHIP?SITE=FLTAM&SECTION=US
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Bob R.
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« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2010, 09:03:13 am »

This is not new, the situation has been going on for 20 years, although they began to advertise the problem a bit better during the Span-Am centenial.

It is the responsibility of the Olympia's preservation association to drum up the funds to keep it afloat. The problem isn't limited to the Olympia - in good economic times, various associations adopted historic ships to preserve, while they all are struggling now in bad economic times. The Yorktown, down in Charleston has been threatened by the Navy.

A big part of problems with naval antiquities is the US Navy itself. It claims ownership of any vessel which was once commissioned, as well as any and all prizes taken, and even to enemy combatants sunk (famously, in a lawsuit, the CSS Alabama, when a diver began bringing up bits like the ships bell).

The US Navy has a horrific track record with preserving historic landmark ships. In example, it allowed the America to sink at its moorings in Anapolis, after decades of neglect. After Pearl Harbour, the citizens of Oregon donated their museum ship, the battleship Oregon back to the US Navy, as a symbolic measure fter the loss of the Pacific Fleet Battleships - the navy turned it into an accomodation ship, then instead of giving it back to the State of Oregon after the war, scrapped it- amidst protests of scrapping the only surviving Span-Am war battleship. They threatened the USS Constitution with destruction on at least two seperate occassions.

Frankly, certain historic ships belong to the people of the United States, and should be taken out of the hands of the Navy. They have shown zero interest in preservation, in the last 160 years, and refuse to place any effort or money into the process. If we lose the Olympic, ultimately, the fault lies with teh US Navy and its adamant (and assinine) policies in regards to its former property.
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Dead I
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« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2010, 12:44:42 pm »

I had heard about this and it'd be terrible if this old war horse was scrapped.  I think she is a sister ship of the USS Maine.
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Bob R.
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« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2010, 03:48:02 pm »

Unfortunately, the Maine and the Olympia are not the same class - Olympia is an armoured cruiser, Maine was a Second class battleship (although initially designed as an armoured cruiser). The Maine had a wierd, asymetrical layout of her main armament in a pair of turrets, one forward and one aft well off the centerline of the ship. She and the first battleship Texas were intended for coastal defence, and they came about because Brazil launched a modern warship likely capable of sinking the entire US fleet herself in 1883, theRiachulelo

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Plan_of_the_first_battleship_Maine.JPG

(The ship that created the turn of the century US Navy)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Riachuelo_1885.jpg

The Olympia is a slightly newer design, intended to be a commerce raiding cruiser. Her main armament is housed in two turrets on the centerline of the ship, one fore, one aft, in what to our modern eyes looks to be a more normal arrangement.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:USS_Olympia.png

The 1880's-1910 was a time of rapid transition in naval architechture and technology, and various South American naval programs caused a deal of consternation to the US and European navy's, as they found themselves having to scrap and modernise entire fleets to keep current and competative. Brazil and Chile and Argentina pretty much managed to bankrup themselves in their own races for naval power.

The naval race between Great Britian and Kaiser Bill's Germany helped increase the pressure that helped launch WWI, Britian launching Dreadnought in 1906 was another technology leap that overnight made all the Great White Fleet ships obsolete, a decade or less after their completion.

Olympia is one of less than a handful of survivors representing naval technology of the era. The Japanese battleship Mikasa is the sole other survivor.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Yokosuka-mikasa-08-2010.png
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Bob R.
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« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2010, 03:55:56 pm »

My Bad, I almost forgot the IMperian Russian nay's cruiser Aurore

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Croiseur_Aurore.png

Aurore was preserved by the Soviets as having had (or its crew having had) a role early on in the Russian Revolution. There is a costal monitor of English origin rusting away as a wreck off the coast of Austrailia, but I think that covers these late 19th century transitional ships. Chile has a monitor of English manufacture, contemporary with Mid 19th Civil War Technology, and of course England has the Warrior, which was built to confront the first French ironclad Gloire (which never happened).
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Dead I
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« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2010, 05:11:51 pm »

My gosh, Bob R, you sure know your naval ships.  I just bought a great book at costco about all of the major battleships built since they started making iron ships.  Not all of them, but about one from each class.  Very neat book.  The Olympia is not shown but the Maine is.

What is strange to me is that many of these old war horses, which must have cost a ton, were only in commission for a few years.  Many only three or four!  Technology would drastically change or treaties would be signed and they cut up their battle wagons.

Strangly the most beautiful appear to me to be the Italian's ships.  And then there's the wonderful  and shapely HMS Hood.

During the VN War I spent some time in Subic Bay and we saw the New Jersey (I think.)  The Iowa?  I never saw her cook off her guns but I flew with guys who FAC't for her and they said it was neat!  They also said the shells didn't make a very large splash since they went off way underground.   
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Fiddler Green
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« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2010, 07:32:26 pm »

I think the USS Olympia was doomed, the minute that the city of Olympia and the State of Washington showed no innterest is saving her.
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Charles Isaac
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« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2010, 06:32:26 pm »

I would be glad to donate some money to help save the ship, as would lots of folks. It's just that there is usually a bunch of liberals involved in "conservation" and "preservation". You just don't know where your money's really going with the track record of embezzling those yahoos have.

I hope to go see the ship within the next year.
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Doc Cuervo
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« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2010, 12:31:28 am »

I think the USS Olympia was doomed, the minute that the city of Olympia and the State of Washington showed no innterest is saving her.
That's probably a pretty accurate assesment right there.
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Drayton Calhoun
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« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2010, 12:42:06 pm »

I served on board the USS Lexington, USS John F. Kennedy, USS Forrestal and the USS Theodore Roosevelt. All but the last have been either retired or made into training vessels. At least the Lex is a tourist attraction now. It is sad to see our history and heritage relegated to the scrappers, but unfortunately, there aren't a lot of places you can park an aircraft carrier or any large war vessel.
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Bob R.
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« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2010, 03:16:21 pm »

While this is true, certain vessels need preservation due to their historical significance, or being a representitive of a type of design that few or no examples are extant to examine - Olympia qualifies on both counts.  We have preserved a fair number of aircraft carriers, and battleships of the WWII and postwar era (thinking the Missouri and New Jersy in regards to battlewagons), but we have exactly one example of an 1890's warship of any sort. Just loike the Texas needs preservationas the only representative we have of a Dreadnaught era design...
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Shotgun Franklin
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« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2010, 05:54:46 pm »

The USS Texas actually was bought, saved from becoming scrap, by donations. When she has to be repaired it costs a fortune. The last time the Texas was moved for repair was to the Todd Shipyards in Galveston. There must have been a million people turned out to see her floated down the Houston Ship Channel.
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« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2010, 08:57:09 pm »

Perhaps the best hope for saving the Olympia is get her out of the water, and put her in some kind of dry dock on land, as has been done with Battleship Mikasa and HMS Victory. 
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« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2010, 11:56:31 pm »

Perhaps the best hope for saving the Olympia is get her out of the water, and put her in some kind of dry dock on land, as has been done with Battleship Mikasa and HMS Victory. 

Again, money. Where will it come from?
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« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2010, 12:28:43 am »

Again, money. Where will it come from?

Good question!  Given the times, I ain't got a clue, but getting her out of the water has to be cheaper than trying to keep her afloat!  As least on land, she not in danger of sinking at her mooring or becoming a reef, and she could be around for our children to see.  If she is to be saved, we need ideas that are possible, both in terms of money and execution.  The Olympia has always been a very special ship.  She was, and is, our "Herald of Empire."  Awareness, and workable solutions, need to be set forth.
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« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2010, 04:50:42 pm »

Quote
The USS Olympia, which faced that fate or scuttling as part of an artificial reef off Cape May, has eluded such a demise, at least for now, it was announced yesterday.

The old steel-hulled warship, also famous for carrying home the body of the Unknown Soldier from World War I, had been scheduled to close to the public next Monday.

But Capt. John Gazzola, head of the Independence Seaport Museum at Penn's Landing, which now cares for the Olympia, said yesterday that the ship would remain open for tours temporarily.


Read more: http://www.philly.com/dailynews/local/20101119_USS_Olympia_at_Penn_s_Landing_gets_reprieve_-_for_now.html#ixzz1693IlZJY
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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  Cas City Historical Society (Moderators: St. George, Silver Creek Slim)  |  Topic: USS Olympia, 2-war naval veteran, battles for survival « previous next »
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