Tuesday, October 08, 2013

A Compromise to Save USS Olympia

After years of sad, passive-aggressive disrespect to our Navy history - before mother nature takes her vengeance - there is a chance to save the old girl. This would require Philly to get motivated though.
There is one last-gasp effort underway by Philadelphia-area people to save the Olympia for future generations. They have developed a promising plan for the restoration and re-berthing of Olympia that would allow the ship to remain here.

The solution is to permanently dry-dock Olympia in Dry Dock No. 1 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

This approach would save millions of dollars in structural repairs, which would not be required since the ship would not be afloat. Furthermore, the funding required for periodic dry-docking (recommended every 15 to 20 years for museum ships) would be unnecessary. Permanent dry-docking also would ensure no further deterioration of the now razor-thin "wind and water" area of the hull plating.

Dry Dock No. 1 at the Navy Yard sits idle and is too small to be viable commercially. It is the perfect size for Olympia. The dry dock is itself a historic structure. It is a graving dock designed by and constructed under the supervision of Adm. Robert E. Peary, a famous explorer of the North Pole. It was commissioned in 1891, a year before the launching of Olympia.

The Olympia would be displayed in the dry dock at street level, with a shallow pool of water surrounding her to make her appear to be afloat. In addition to touring the decks and interior of the ship, visitors would be able to go down into the dry dock to see the underwater portion of the hull, as well as the interior of the dry dock itself. At night the ship would be bathed in light, a spectacular sight for airline passengers as they land at Philadelphia International Airport.
She really belongs at the Washington Navy Yard - but we don't live in my world.

I wish the people of Philly good funding and faster decisions.

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