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Sorry for the blurry pic, but these are the words of President McKinley on a plaque inside Olympia.  I include them here because they seem appropriately addressed to the vessel itself now.  The entire quote is here.  Santiago Playa was the location of the largest naval actions of the Spanish-American War.  (Click here,  scroll down to the “Cuba”  section and then farther to the “naval operations” paragraphs for info on Santiago.

This is the most outrageous thing I have ever said on this blog:  but I’m only repeating someone’s suggestion that, if the decision is made to “reef” Olympia, she might have a “riding crew” made up of those “museum custodians” who put their own interest$ before the seriousness of their charge to preserve this vessel.    Now I’ll add a “Yaarrr … ”  for some color.

Here’s a quote from the ISM site:  “ISM will cease public tours of the Olympia on November 22, 2010.” Scroll all the way down for some then-now fotos.

I know this is NOT news, but in light of the ticking clock, you might want to reread this 2007 post from Peter Mello’s SeaFever.  Here’s a followup from a year and a half ago.  Here’s a recent op-ed piece pleading for “rescue” of the vessel from John F. Lehman, former Secretary of the Navy.

And yes, this post exists only to vent, and encourage venting.  Please feel encouraged.

Call this … “what we might lose soon.”  I wrote about it here a few months back.

This Proceedings article lays out some of the recent history of deterioration.

Here’s a recent article from the Christian Science Monitor.    On its falling into this state, Naval naval historian Lawrence Burr, author of US Cruisers 1883-1904,  says, “It’s an absolute national disgrace. It’s an appalling situation.  She is a national symbol, and she marks critical points in time both in America’s development as a country and the Navy’s emergence as a global power.”

Says Harry Burkhardt, leading efforts to save Olympia, “I think what’s happening is a total disgrace.  The Liberty Bell has a crack in it, but we don’t melt it down. The Statue of Liberty turned green with corrosion, but we don’t throw it away.  The Olympia was a symbol of America’s might and freedom.  Now she’s a symbol of negligence.”

Click here for dozens of fotos of Olympia taken a few years back.

Click here and go to page 17 to see a foto of Olympia‘s hull on 5 November 1892, day of launch.

The large gun juxtaposed with the many-paned “picture window” was operated from the fleet commander’s suite.

Right now the vessel’s fate  hangs … or teeters in the balance.  These might be the last days to visit, to walk her decks and companionways, to photograph her in various light, to sketch her iconic lines.

Here’s a “Friends of the Cruiser Olympia” site.

For some great interior shots, see MarkerHunter’s site.

This can’t really disappear, can it?

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

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Graves of Arthur Kill

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Seth Tane American Painting

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