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  • This is Profoundly Stupid…

    Posted by Joseph Fouche on July 12th, 2010 (All posts by )

    The city of Philadelphia, Pennslyvania is home to USS Olympia:

    USS Olympia was a protected cruiser in the United States Navy during the Spanish-American War. She is most notable for being the flagship of Commodore George Dewey at the Battle of Manila Bay. The cruiser continued in service throughout World War I and was decommissioned in 1922. As of 2010, Olympia is a museum ship at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Olympia is the world’s oldest steel warship still afloat.

    Not for long, it seems:

    Now the Olympia – the last surviving vessel from that 1898 conflict – could face an ignoble end as an artificial reef off Cape May 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 McLane, 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, McLane said. At least $20 million is needed to tow, restore, interpret, and endow the deteriorating vessel.

    Fortunately, as Dmitri Rotov points out, the state of Pennsylvania has its priorities straight:

    Tough economic times – but the $20 million needed to rehab the Olympia is exactly the amount allocated in the new state budget for an Arlen Specter library and a John Murtha “Center for Public Policy.”


    6 Responses to “This is Profoundly Stupid…”

    1. Dan from Madison Says:

      This is so sad, what a historic vessel.

    2. Lexington Green Says:

      Spector and Murtha should be used to make an artificial reef.

    3. david foster Says:

      Given the current trends of historical amnesia, the day could come when the North Carolina and other WWII-era ships join the Olympia at the bottom of the sea.

      If the San Francisco city supervisors had their way, the USS Iowa would probably be an artificial reef.

    4. Purpleslog Says:

      This is a dang shame. Doesn’t the US Navy have a museum? Or is the US supposed to feel bad about the victory in 1898?

    5. reader Says:

      How about putting the Specter-Murtha Center for Public Policy on the ship, and then sinking it?

    6. bgates Says:

      How about putting Specter in the Murtha Center and sinking that, and leave the ship where it is.