Friday, August 14, 2015

USS Olympia: Living History

Launched in 1892, Comm. Dewey's flagship the USS Olympia is one of only two protected cruisers surviving today (the other is the Russian Aurora). Sadly, due to lack of funds she is rusting away in dock in Philadelphia at the Independence Seaport Museum. She's painted in the same beautiful peacetime white and buff colors she wore when she led the US Asiatic Squadron in its massacre of the Spanish Pacific Squadron in Manila Bay on May 1, 1898.

Commodore's Lounge
USS Olympia's bow

5" gun
I've visited the Olympia several times and I want to back again. With wood lined interiors and graceful curves to her hull and gun mounts, she's one of the most beautiful machines I've ever seen. Emblazoned with an American flag shield, her bow juts forward like an outthrust chin showing she's ready to fight.

After her victorious service in the Spanish American War, the Olympia would go on to cruise around the world and eventually serve as the flagship of the Caribbean Squadron. She participated in the intervention in Honduras in 1903 to protect the banana trade. 

During the Great War she escorted transports to France. She also participated in the Allied intervention in Murmansk and Archangel in 1918. Later she transported the remains of the Unknown Soldier home to the States. She was decomissioned in 1922. It would be a terrible historic loss were she to end up in the scrap yard. Unfortunately, I don't have the $13 million estimated needed to fix her up and keep her afloat.


  1. Where did the S&S go? This was by far the best S&S blog I was aware of...I want my Sword and Sorcery!
    Sorry, tiger got out of the cage...

    1. Are you kidding, let the tiger roar! Thanks for the encouraging words.

      I really needed a break from reading nothing but S&S. I do a book a week for Black Gate and it's wearing at times. But I'll be back next month with heroic fantasy (I think I'll start with the last Gonji novel by Ted Rypel).

      But I don't want to stop the long 19th cent. posts. Somehow, I'll balance out my reading load.

  2. Fletcher, I've been enjoying the historical posts. In addition to learning about some events I never heard about in school, I've got a new list of titles to try and track down.

    1. Cool, thanx! This has been a tremendous learning experience for me as well. Things I only know bits and pieces of, or just a name, are becoming fully fleshed out.