Independence Seaport Museum

At Penn's Landing

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

visited May, 2002

USS Olympia (C-6) DANFS

The Olympia, like USS Texas (BB-35) in Houston, provides a rare glimpse into another era. The Olympia was built in 1892, fought in the Spanish-American War and was decommissioned in 1922. It was the Olympia, with Commodore George Dewey on board, which won the battle of Manila Bay. That victory established the United States as a naval power, and forever enshrined the phrase "You may fire when ready, Gridley."

The Olympia is a throwback to days when design was not that far off from the old sailing ships of the line. The interior has an enormous amount of deeply polished wood, sumptuous officer's quarters - and just like the old ships of the line - the captain's cabin mounts a gun. Most of the original guns were removed in refits before the Olympia retired in 1922. Amazingly, one of the original guns survives today, a 6-pounder forward on the port side. Voice pipes lead from the bridge to various stations, including the emergency steering - a triple-wheel made of wood, out on deck towards the stern. Ammunition hoists that look like china cabinets sit close by coal chutes and ash hoists. The Olympia, alongside the submarine Becuna, lies directly across the Delaware River from the USS New Jersey (BB-62), and is a must see when visiting Philadelphia.

The Photos

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For More Information:

Independence Seaport Museum

USS Olympia Page Two

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