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Saving our history... USS Olympia


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thanks for the links Matt. I didn't realize how poor a shape she was in. It's a tough time to be searching for that kind of money but it would sure be a shame if she can't be saved.

Terry

to all who have served!

 

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A very sad story! The OLYMPIA is a National Treasure which must be preserved - somewhere. How about at the Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD where future generations of Naval officers can learn her history. I hope someone does something! If you have never been aboard her do so while you can!

Semper Fi......Bobgee

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"I have only two men out of my company and 20 out of some other company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try to get it here as we are swept by machine gun fire and constant barrage is on us. I have no one on my left and only a few on my right. I will hold." (Message sent by 1st Lt. Clifton B. Cates. USMC, 96th Co., Soissons, 19 July 1918 - later 19th Commandant of the Marine Corps 1948-1952)

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This is very upsetting. I was lucky enough to visit the ship several times as a kid in the 1960's. It is truly a unique ship and as I recall it maybe the only ship of any nation from that era other then the Potemkin.

 

Hopefully someone or some group will come through for it. Where is Ted Turner when you need him?

 

Realistically though, who is out there for the Spanish American War veterans? The Civil War gets massive amounts of restoration funding, although that too has been cut back in recent years. WWI barely gets a mention, but you still have some significant memorials and museums. I really think as generations move on the memory and the dedication to monuments fades.

Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

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At a Memorial day event that I had a display at, a South Carolina junior high schoolteacher told me that in the last several years it has come up more than once to stop teaching any HISTORY that is over 50 years old!

 

Especially no research papers or term papers or "busy work" like making posters or dioramas. WHY? The fruitcake leftist Edukators themselves "do not relate well" to "that old stuff", hence it cannot possibly be worth oppressing Tomorrow's Leaders -- expecting them to know or pass tests on it.

 

Everything before 1960 should be compressed into ONE WEEK's classroom work. Then weekly emphasis goes to the civil rights movement, Kennedy, Viet Nam DISSENT, NASA, women's lib, Presidents, the computer age, etc.

 

PLEASE NOTE: This is in South CAROLINA, not Southern California..

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Here's an excellent editorial on the need to save the U.S.S. Olympia, written by a highly respected Civil War historian:

 

http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinio...ink-from-memory

 

I know I'm preaching to the choir, but any proposal to turn one of the most historic American warships into a reef should not be tolerated by the citizens of this nation.

 

Just my two cents worth.

 

Jeff Patrick

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That is HORRIBLE!!!! My word. What are people thinking these days? I have yet to visit the ship, too. I hope beyond all hope that the ship will be saved. Something has to be done!!

 

-Ski

In Memory Of......
Pte Harold Griffiths, 1805, 1/6th Manchester Regt, KIA June 4th, 1915 in Gallipoli
Cpl Isaac Judges, 40494, 6th East Yorkshire Regt, KIA October 3rd, 1917 in Ypres
May they rest in peace.....

MSgt - USAF Retired

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The unfortunate part is that it all comes down to dollars and cents.

The reality may be difficult to sallow, but the facts are simple.

 

Who, in this day of tight money, can afford to be the benefactor of

the great treasures of history. If other ways of raising the capital to

support the coasts of restoration and maintenance cannot be found,

these treasures will disappear.

No one person can do it. No group of people can sustain the burden

for an undetermined period of time.

 

The Olympia is already a floating museum, what's next. A restaurant and hotel?

How about a casino, with Vegas style shows. A Convention Center, that's it!!

 

The reality is; What price history, and who's going to pay for it ?

**PLEASE NOTE: THIS COMMUNITY MEMBER HAS SADLY PASSED AWAY**

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/301020-robin-ray/

 

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Here is the Website of the Friends of the USS Olympia:

 

http://www.fotco.org/

 

I signed the petition they had. They have the daunting task of raising $10m by December. All you can do is get the word out about it as most people don't know that this is happening. I know I didn't. The USS Olympia is a National Landmark and deserves the protection that the title represents. It is our history. It is the last 19th Century Armored Cruiser in the world. So we say too bad? What do we leave our children? This is downright wrong.

 

-Ski

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In Memory Of......
Pte Harold Griffiths, 1805, 1/6th Manchester Regt, KIA June 4th, 1915 in Gallipoli
Cpl Isaac Judges, 40494, 6th East Yorkshire Regt, KIA October 3rd, 1917 in Ypres
May they rest in peace.....

MSgt - USAF Retired

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I've been trying to get the word out as well. My good friend is the curator of the USS New Jersey across the river from the Olympia and they're all hurting, but trying to save the Olympia. I've been telling everyone I know about it. Going to make a donation as soon as I can afford it. It may not be much, but if everyone I know pitches in, and THEY start passing the word.... well, maybe we can get something accomplished.

 

HELP PASS THE WORD GUYS!!!!

 

Jon

In memory of 1LT Julius C. Goldman, XO of F/330th, 83rd Infantry Division 1944-45.

 

Looking for P-47 and Tactical Reconnaissance Unit photographs and any items associated with WWII Jewish fighter pilots.

 

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Soon after the Olympia's decommissioning in the 1920s , there was a push by John J Cochran, a congressman from Missouri, to have the Olympia preserved as a monument. His plan was to move her to Washington DC, encase her hull in concrete and have the Office Public Buildings and Public Parks maintain her. The plan failed, first due to the depression, and later to basic political squabbling. (USS Olympia, Herald of Empire, by Benjamin Franklin Cooling.)

 

I hate the thought of warships set like models in concrete, but in the long term it is far less expensive. I guess it comes down to lose it or keep what you can for future generations. Given her current state of preservation, it may be an idea worth revisiting - if all else fails.

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Soon after the Olympia's decommissioning in the 1920s , there was a push by John J Cochran, a congressman from Missouri, to have the Olympia preserved as a monument. His plan was to move her to Washington DC, encase her hull in concrete and have the Office Public Buildings and Public Parks maintain her. The plan failed, first due to the depression, and later to basic political squabbling. (USS Olympia, Herald of Empire, by Benjamin Franklin Cooling.)

 

I hate the thought of warships set like models in concrete, but in the long term it is far less expensive. I guess it comes down to lose it or keep what you can for future generations. Given her current state of preservation, it may be an idea worth revisiting - if all else fails.

 

Better that than at the bottom of the ocean. The Japanese did that same thing with the Mikasa. Although it doesn't look as good as if it was in the water, the ship is still around. Ideally, I think it would be the best to creat a drydock for it, like the HMS Victory. That way, you get a really good look at the hull as well as the rest of the ship and it is out of the water....

 

-Ski

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In Memory Of......
Pte Harold Griffiths, 1805, 1/6th Manchester Regt, KIA June 4th, 1915 in Gallipoli
Cpl Isaac Judges, 40494, 6th East Yorkshire Regt, KIA October 3rd, 1917 in Ypres
May they rest in peace.....

MSgt - USAF Retired

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We all ought to bring this to the attention of our elected representatives.

 

With all of the so-called stimulus overspending going on for utterly stupid projects, this is actually something worthwhile.....the last 19th Century naval vessel.

 

Honestly, before seeing the info on this forum, I had no idea that it existed. If I were making a trip to Philly, it would definitely be on my "to do" list.

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Always interested in the 166th Infantry, 42nd Division, A.E.F.

Quality WW1 studio portraits and real photo postcards of Distinguished Service Cross recipients; showing steel helmets; or other interesting content.

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The Olympia is a great ship and deserves to be preserved. Since it is the only one of its kind left in the world, it is of great historical significance as well. I think its historical value alone justifies any money spent on it for repairs and maintenance. However, the website ( http://www.fotco.org/ ) is noting the potential jobs and revenue from tourism the ship will bring.

 

That’s fine and certainly a worthwhile community project. The only problem I have is what the website calls “interior/exterior interpretive programs” and “Installation of climate-control and plumbing systems”. I can only wonder what type of ultra modern modifications that will include. People always talk about preserving and restoring something yet they always want to gut everything original out of it and put a Starbucks and internet café inside. I’ve visited a lot of so-called “restored” historical ships. Almost all of them have had the passageway hatches torch-cut out so morbidly obese people and moms with strollers can get through them. They lay wall to wall carpet and hang big screen TVs everywhere and don’t forget the gift shop and snack bar. That type of “restoration” is lame. It’s okay to have all the modern amenities but put them all on the dock, not inside the ship. If they are going to restore the ship, keep everything on board 1892, just as it was. No modern air-conditioning or handicapped bathrooms on the ship? Well, they didn’t have things like that in 1892. Tell people to use the modern facilities at the dock before boarding the ship. Is that too difficult? I don’t understand why it is so hard for people to see that modern stuff inside something over 100 years old just ruins it. Isn’t the whole point of preserving the ship because it’s old? Why make it modern and new looking? If someone was restoring a 1925 car, would they put air conditioning, power windows, GPS and a 6 disk CD player in it? Of course not, that’s stupid. I just don’t get it. :dunno:

Jeff Warner

Author/Technical Advisor

www.giconcepts.com

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WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?????? :ermm: :crying: :crying: I live local to phila and did not hear about this!!!! A great ship with a proud history !!! Last time i was there maybe 10yrs it was in bad shape collection of items deterioating and place on the deck where Unkown soldier of WWI was transported back from Europe Had a very faded Flag ! HOPE WE CAN SAVE THIS SHIP!!!

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I believe there are three threads about the Olympia circulating on the board now.

Why not have a Mod consolidate them, and if "Good Ideas" are spawn,

pass them to the "Friends of the USS the Olympia" committee.

 

Grizzly Adams, and Teamski have got something in the way of a suggestion going,

Maybe others can expand on it and pass it to the Committee.

 

An Idea?? :dunno:

**PLEASE NOTE: THIS COMMUNITY MEMBER HAS SADLY PASSED AWAY**

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/301020-robin-ray/

 

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Let that outdated tub go to sea and become a reef..................but make sure that all of the profesional historians with thier advanced degrees who cannot keep her afloat are in her brig doing 45and 45 when she starts to list and make her voyage to the bottom....a reef?.... that is sick....stand on those bronze foot prints and tell me that the Cruiser Olympia is not a NATIONAL treasure. On top of that..for a "proffesional" to say that they cannot maintain her and she shouldbecome a reef is ignorant just give it back to its original owner.. a reef..WOW I am very sorry to sound so ignorant but we have a whole bunch of highly esteemed pros who are missing one thing...being trained by a man who was trained by a man who was trained by a man who was trained by a man who was trained by a man who walked the decks of a great white fleet ship or a WW1 ship or a WW2 ship ....am I stupid ..yes a little bit and no I do not hate all proffesional historians but there are a group of them who are book shmart and do not really get it and trust me when I say that all of the typos just bring home the point that I have no degree just the tutalage of a long succesion of men who have tasted a lot of salt laden air.

 

Sorry to those I have offended, it is just a reflection and really sad.

John

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When I was stationed at Aberdeen, I went to see the ship several times and tried to see her again when I visited the area last year (a concert across the river made parking impossible for anywhere in the area, and I’m still fuming over that). I have a few items from the ship, and you can still find the coins minted from the ship’s backup prop on eBay from time to time. But make no mistake, she’s in pretty bad condition. There’s very little of the ship that’s original to the day Dewey looked at the Olympia’s Captain and said, “You may fire when ready, Gridley.” But all these threats to scrap her are far most likely a attempt to shock people into donations. Naval preservation is always ridiculously expensive. The ship is donated, the community make a big deal about it, then everyone goes home, leaving a small group wondering how to maintain the ship with a fraction of the people needed to maintain her back in the day. It happens with almost EVERY vessel that becomes a museum somewhere.

Realistically though, who is out there for the Spanish American War veterans?
Hardly anyone. The Sons of Spanish American War Veterans is pretty much a shell organization now. There are next to no re-enacting groups dedicated to that time period. There was a very brief surge of re-enacting interest for the centennial years in the 90s, but that died out very quickly afterward. You can find online listing of re-enacting groups, but many of them haven’t been updated in years and I know for a fact several of them have been long since disbanded. Sure, there are still SOME people into it. But not too darned many. The war lacks the “fan base” that the Civil War has, I guess possibly because visiting the battlefield locations is either expensive, dangerous or downright illegal for Americans today.
At a Memorial day event that I had a display at, a South Carolina junior high schoolteacher told me that in the last several years it has come up more than once to stop teaching any HISTORY that is over 50 years old!
It isn’t just there. I’ve heard this in other places as well, that history teachers think that kids can’t possibly relate to anything beyond their parent’s generation, if even then. I was at a recent multi-era event, talking about the Span-Am Rough Rider impression I’m putting together, and being told that people can’t relate to that time period anymore.

Let’s see: An unpopular prolonged war after a quick victory, people questioning the causes for the war itself, a deeply entrenched and bloody insurgency in a far-off land that goes largely ignored by the main populace because “business as usual” back at home. Yeah, there’s nothing from the timeframe of the war with Spain that could possibly relate to things that have happened in recent years. Right? :think: :ermm:

Lee Bishop Formerly known as "Ratchet 5" with the 2nd Infantry Division (yes, in REAL life)

US WW2 War Correspondent collector

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  • 2 months later...

I saw on the local news that USS Olympia will be turned back to the navy the end of this month!

It may be sunk as an artificial reef of cape may Nj or scraped its up to the navy !! The say it leeks so bad it might not even be able to be pulled out of its morings! :thumbdown: :crying:

this upsets me I went there many times as a kid! Never got to bring my girls to see it only in driving by!!!

it seems like its a done deal that there is no saving it!!! :ermm: :(

!

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  • 3 weeks later...

What a beautiful ship, they just don't make them like this anymore. How many millions of dollars have been spent exploring shipwrecks from this period, what romance has been built around those ships. Why is one ship from this period, that is available for everyone to see and enjoy, neglected to the point where we will deliberately make her another shipwreck, only to miss her once she's gone?

 

Sad...

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INTERESTED IN WWII ITEMS RELATED TO THE

CORPS OF ENGINEERS

 

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According to their website the last tour will be on November 22nd. I don't know how I will get there but I have to see that ship before it's gone. I wonder if they will sell souvenir pieces of it before they sink it. I would buy a hull piece.

 

Mike

My friends, my heroes. You will never be forgotten.

Jason Gonzalez- June 5, 2005

Keith Mariotti- June 30, 2005

Jason West- July 24, 2006

Carlos Martinez- April 25, 2009

Patrick Hamburger- August 6, 2011

Kevin Hatcher- March 29, 2012

David Chu- June 23, 2013

Steven Keech- September 15, 2013

Mark Armijo- March 6, 2019

 

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Let that outdated tub go to sea and become a reef..................but make sure that all of the profesional historians with thier advanced degrees who cannot keep her afloat are in her brig doing 45and 45 when she starts to list and make her voyage to the bottom....a reef?.... that is sick....stand on those bronze foot prints and tell me that the Cruiser Olympia is not a NATIONAL treasure. On top of that..for a "proffesional" to say that they cannot maintain her and she shouldbecome a reef is ignorant just give it back to its original owner.. a reef..WOW I am very sorry to sound so ignorant but we have a whole bunch of highly esteemed pros who are missing one thing...being trained by a man who was trained by a man who was trained by a man who was trained by a man who was trained by a man who walked the decks of a great white fleet ship or a WW1 ship or a WW2 ship ....am I stupid ..yes a little bit and no I do not hate all proffesional historians but there are a group of them who are book shmart and do not really get it and trust me when I say that all of the typos just bring home the point that I have no degree just the tutalage of a long succesion of men who have tasted a lot of salt laden air.

 

Sorry to those I have offended, it is just a reflection and really sad.

John

 

You sure didn't offend me, John. - You nailed it :thumbsup:

 

If and when the USS OLYMPIA does make that final journey down the river, I hope that all the ghosts of her beloved crew find a way to scuttle her squarely in the middle of the channel - masts and stacks pointed skyward, with her bow proudly in the air. A reminder of how not tending to business today, makes for problems in the future . . . - Our misplaced national priorities never cease to amaze me !!

 

Paul

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