Programming American Naval History On The Delaware

 

The USS Olympia, the world’ oldest steel warship, needs upwards of $20 million for hull repair, decking replacement, and upgraded pier accommodations to save it from being reefed. Creative programming and the establishment of a fundraising foundation may help keep the ship afloat. | Photo: Independence Seaport Museum

  • PlanPhilly’s Alan Jaffe checks up on the Independence Seaport Museum’s efforts to preserve the USS Olympia, the 124-year-old cruiser from which the United States became a world power, slowly rusting away since 1945 at the Penn’s Landing Marina. In the five years since the museum decided to retain and repair the ship, not much of the necessary $20 million has been raised, yet substantial work has been undertaken to stabilize the its deteriorating hull. In six months a nationwide fundraising arm, the Flagship Olympia Foundation, will be launched, says ISM’s CEO John Brady, in the hope of soliciting the support of patriotic philanthropists. In the meantime, his team is preparing a didactic business model for the preserved vessel: teaching children maritime flag signaling, squeezing through the engine room to appreciate its machinery. “We’re about art, history, science and community,” Brady explains.
  • The former Nabisco factory on Roosevelt Boulevard was traded last week for $10.2 million, reports Philadelphia magazine’s Sandy Smith. Two of the 27.5-acre site’s buildings—the 9-story cookie and 2-story cracker facilities—are to be demolished and replaced with “redeveloped with a mix of industrial and retail uses.” The other building, a one-floor distribution center, has already been leased out to an apparel manufacturer.
  • WHYY’s Dave Heller speaks with the executive director of Scenic Philadelphia Mary Tracy, who recounts her organization’s concerns over the Franklin Institute’s plan—now approved—to install digital signs at the intersection of 20th and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Asked to comment on the limitations placed on the signs, Tracy laments that “the City made the best out of a bad situation,” having accepted that a legal fight would be unsuccessful, as the Institute was careful to submit its application prior to L&I’s more stringent rewriting of the sign code.
About the author

Stephen Currall recently received his BA in history from Arcadia University. Before beginning doctoral studies, he is pursuing his interest in local history, specifically just how Philadelphians engage their vibrant past. Besides skimming through 18th century letters, Steve is also interested in music and travel.

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1 Comment


  1. I went on the USS Olympia once. I am not a tall person, but I had to stoop several times, when entering and exiting a compartment, and in the ship’s secondary gun turrets. I thought the crew berthing was bad on a more modern ship, but this Spanish American cruiser was …….. interesting!

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