This was not business as usual.
On a spring day in 2010, leaders within the maritime heritage.
Community were called to the Independence Seaport Museum (ISM) for an all-hands effort to save Olympia from a fate of being towed out to sea and scuttled.
The ISM board could no longer afford to maintain her and fund the restoration the ship desperately needed, and there was a real fear that she could sink at the dock.
Just down the street, the Liberty Bell sat in state, an old cracked bell, but an icon of great worth to Americans.
Would it ever be dumped into the ocean?
Olympia would have certainly caused a bigger splash,
literally, were she to be scuttled,
But it was of paramount importance that this potential travesty be averted and that she, too, be recognized for her importance to US history.
Historic ship stewards and preservationists came from all around the country and brainstormed on how to save her.
Should she stay in Philadelphia, or would a different city be able to provide the resources to restore the storied ship?
USS Olympia is the oldest surviving steel-hulled warship in the world and the oldest steel American warship still afloat.
When the US and Spain declared war on each other in 1898, Olympia was the flagship of the Asiatic Squadron based in Hong Kong.
The squadron was immediately dispatched to the Spanish-ruled Philippines,
Where Olympia would soon gain worldwide fame from a single engagement with the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay.
It was from Olympia’s bridge during the battle that Commodore George Dewey gave the command,
“You may fire when ready, Gridley,” which in time became one of the most famous commands uttered in US naval history.
The Battle of Manila Bay is considered one of the most decisive naval battles in history and resulted in the end of more than.
Three centuries of Spanish colonial rule in the Philippines.
This battle also marked the emergence of the United States as a world power, and Dewey and the Olympia became instant national heroes.
In 1921 Olympia was chosen to carry the body of the Unknown Soldier from WWI home from France; the next year,
the ship was decommissioned and soon largely forgotten until she was nearly scrapped in.
The 1950s—and Philadelphia residents rallied to save her.
In 2010, Olympia was once again in peril and the maritime community geared up to save the ship and find her a home.
By 2014, after extensive research and feasibility studies were conducted by outside groups, the board of Independence Seaport.
Museum decided that Philadelphia was indeed the best home for the ship; they set up a program to keep.
Olympia at the museum under the leadership of John Brady.
Emergency repairs were made to secure the ship.
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