A venerable old naval ship is seeking a new home. Philadelphia's Independence Seaport Museum has announced that it can't afford the restoration costs to keep USS Olympia, a National Historic Landmark dating back to 1892. The Philadelphia Business Journal reports that the museum is facing $10 to $20 million in restoration costs.
Even the costs of stabilizing the ship would run $2 to $5 million. She currently has extensive interior and exterior corrosion of her outer hull but the interior is structurally sound and remarkably intact. The ship requires a new deck as well as repair to her entire waterline repair to an estimated 10% of her underwater hull surface.The ship was Admiral George Dewey's flagship at the Battle of Manila Bay and is the sole surviving ship from the Spanish-American War. The ship's last mission was to carry the body of the Unknown Soldier from France to the United States in 1921.
She's one of a kind, no sister ships were ever built and she is the world's oldest floating steel warship. The Olympia is clearly a national treasure but if she can't find a new home she could face the scrap heap.The museum website says that the museum and its partners will convene with experts in various fields such as historic preservation, urban planning, maritime history, fundraising and economic development for a two-day summit on March 30-April 1 to find the best path for the ship.