Wednesday, May 26, 2010

You may retire when ready, Gridley...

Especially poignant to me, having just finished reading US Cruisers 1883-1904, comes the news that the Independence Seaport Museum in Philly isn't going to have the dough to keep Dewey's flagship from Manila Bay, the USS Olympia, afloat.

Barring fresh sponsorship, the last floating pre-Dreadnought iron warship in the world is going to wind up as a piece of marine habitat off the coast of New Jersey, whose gun laws she probably violates in thirty dozen ways.

It seems a lowdown dirty shame; hopefully a private benefactor will turn up. (And wouldn't the events of the morning of 1 May, 1898 make a splendid movie? Surely somebody in Hollywood might be inclined to chip in in order to keep this fabulous future movie set afloat...)



(H/T to Snowflakes in Hell.)

15 comments:

Eric said...

My wife and I toured the Olympia and the Becula submarine this past March. I can't believe they would just scuttle a piece of history...

Montie said...

Well, don't look for help from the Obama administration. It's historical but in a context of military history, which he cares nothing about.

That being said, I'm sure that he could scrape up the money just by foregoing his Memorial Day trip to Chicago. Presidential travel beyond the portico of the White House racks up expenses in the millions

Alan said...

The Olympia is a beautiful ship.

Here's a photo set from her:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/alancandrews/sets/72157611691000660/

Jon said...

Gah.

They damn well better not scuttle her, she's on my rather extensive list of museum ships to see at least once...

I think next year I'm going to have to settle in and start working on that list.

..why is it we insist on destroying history? I mean, I realize you can't save everything - else America would be like a giant packrat den... but come on, we scrapped, nuked or sunk so many WWII ships, some with some really amazing history. The USS Enterprise comes to mind...

Anyway, I'll stop ranting now. Thanks for the tip Tam.

Jim said...

Let's tap the Hearst fortune. W.R. was probably as responsible as anyone for the shooting in the 1898 operetta. Him, Joe Pulitzer, and Refilpe W.Thenuz.

I used to hate the idea of converting historic ships to Gillette Blue Blades. Sinking them as attractions for yuppie scuba shoppers in day-glo neoprene is worse.

Matt G said...

They could take notes from how we handled the Texas.

Ken said...

They'll scrap it, and then the President will apologize to Spain. Vice President Biden will wear a giant sombrero to the apology ceremony.

Tam said...

Ken,

Are you trying to give me a %&#$ing stroke?

treefroggy said...

Tell Bath Iron Works or the Portsmouth Naval yard that they need to rescue the Olympia as a condition of their multi-billion dollar naval contracts. Besides, Maine can use the tourist attraction.

staghounds said...

STIMULUS MONEY!!!!!!

This is pocket change to quite a few people. How could someone be Soros, or Omidyar, Gates or Buffett, without just writing the check?

The Olympia would make a GREAT houseboat.

Sheesh.

Kristopher said...

Why is this hard?

Dig a trench to it's new permanent home using hydraulic mining gear. Run it aground there. Dam it in and fill with concrete.

Cheap and easy.

Wyatt Earp said...

Philly has no interest in the ship, and would rather see Camden, New Jersey - a craphole of the first order - scare up a better waterfront. They have a concert venue (indoor and outdoor), a minor league baseball stadium, and the Battleship New Jersey along the Delaware River.

We have the Becuna and the Olympia - and they are as good as gone.

That's what happens with 60 years of uninterrupted Democrat rule.

SteveC said...

How about moving it to Navy Pier in Chicago? Fresh water would cut down the maintenance costs.

Wyatt Earp said...

SteveC - It's in fresh (albeit dirty) water now.

Ian Argent said...

Wyatt - it's not like Camden hasn't had their own long-running Democratic administration...

It's just that the Camden Waterfront rebuild benefitted a couple of campaign contributors. Y'all need to get a few of those.