THE U.S.S. OLYMPIA: GLORIOUS PAST, DECAYED PRESENT AND HOPEFUL FUTURE (ABSTRACT)

Edward C. Koziara, Chiou S. Yan

Abstract


This paper traces the naval history of the U.S.S. Olympia and incorporates many photographs to display the current condition of the ship. The paper begins with a brief history of the U.S.S. Olympia and its role in the Spanish-American War, its part as the flagship of the Caribbean, its World War I work and its role in the ill conceived Murmansk intervention and its more successful participation in the Trau pacification of Italians and Yugoslavs; its feature part in the bombing experiments of Billy Mitchell and transporting the Unknown Soldier from France to Washington in a most hazardous journey. It was decommissioned in 1931 and is currently part of the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia. It is docked in the Delaware River about eight blocks from Independence Hall and within easy walking distance of other historical attractions. Similar to the Constitution in Boston the U.S.S. Olympia could be an important part of the Philadelphia waterfront.

The ship although in disrepair has a living history crew, which portray the work of the Spanish American seamen. They perform the various drills, play music of the time and prepare food then served. Of particular import is the economics of the Olympia. What is required and what initiatives have been undertaken to restore the Olympia? Rough cost-benefit data is presented to illustrate the advantages and costs of preservation.

Finally the paper looks at the regional development of the Philadelphia Center City and the way in which preservation efforts can complement other initiatives to develop the area.


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