Sunday, May 21, 2017

What's new is old again ~ The USS Olympia in black and white

Last Friday, I took the family on a tour of the cruiser USS Olympia, Dewey's famous flagship from Manila Bay, which is now a museum ship at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia. While there, I assigned my 11 year-old son the duties of official trip photographer. Well, the kid's got a bit of an artistic bone, so I was surprised (but at the same time, not surprised) to find out that he took nearly all of the photos in black and white. Here are the results:

(Click any of the photos to enlarge.)

Inside Olympia's wheel house on the bridge deck. Beautifully restored.

A view of one of Olympia's vertical triple expansion coal-fired steam engines.
State-of-the-art for 1893 and authentic steam-punk.

Olympia's bell, behind the forward funnel. 

One of Olympia's Hotchkiss 6-pounders. With the casemates open, you get
a nice view of the battleship USS New Jersey across the Delaware River.

View over the bow from Olympia's bridge deck. This is approximately the view
Dewey would have had while commanding the US Asiatic fleet at Manila Bay
on May 1, 1898. Ahead may be seen the Moshulu, a floating restaurant. Directly
below is the armored conning tower, and forward of that are the mocked-up
8-inch main guns. The original guns were removed in 1916 and replaced
with open gun platforms. The mock-ups were put into place when Olympia
was made into a museum.

An older photo from my collection showing the Olympia as she looked in 2011,
turned black and white to match the rest. The bow of the submarine USS Becuna
is also visible at left.

If you've never visited Olympia, I highly recommend it. The tour is a bit like visiting a floating Victorian mansion with heavy guns. For the price of admission, you also get access to the submarine USS Becuna, and the rest of the Independence Seaport Museum as well. This is an amazing lesson in US maritime history and is well worth the trip and the price of admission. My kids have gone multiple times and find something new every time. Come on down and check it out!

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