NTHP Establishes Save Olymipa Fund

Today the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) announced the creation of a fund “to support the long term repair and restoration of the USS Olympia.”  As the ship’s long term disposition is still in the air, the NTHP plans to hold any funds collected for distribution “to the new receiving organization once a new steward of the Olympia is confirmed (or if necessary, used for emergency repairs).

Let me catch up on the status of the USS Olympia.  Since my last update, the current owner, the Independence Seaport Museum (ISM), announced the availability of the ship and was soliciting qualified applicants.  The museum hosted a summit on March 30-31 with several distinguished speakers (including my friend Dr. B.F. Cooling).  At the end of the summit, ISM along with the National Park Service, Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission, and the US Navy’s Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) provided an overview of the Transfer Application Process (TAPP).   (Note  NAVSEA overseas the disposition of the ship under the Navy Inactive Ships Program.)

The TAPP will proceed through three application and review phases.  The first application period runs through September 2011.  The final review concludes in December 2012.  This lengthy process ensures any potential “home port” will meet the requirements to keep the ship maintained, offer a suitable public presentation, provide administrative support, and address other specific requirements.  In short…. a long review process but that is what is required, mandated, and of course necessary for these dispositions.

And this is not to say the ship WILL be preserved.  If by December 2012, no “home” is approved, then the Olympia may still become a reef or be scrapped.

I’ve seen short lists of potential candidates, but I don’t think any official list has emerged.  What I do find promising is the involvement of many organizations across the board.  Although there are a few voices which are noticeably absent in the dialog.

Let’s see if we can avoid this:

She’s a proud ship with a proud history… and a rare artifact of our past.

And deserves a better fate than the scrapyard.

Philly SP Mus 14 Aug 10 150

I’m glad to hear the NTHP is working to ensure that does not happen.

Published by Craig Swain

"Historical marker hunter" and Civil War enthusiast.

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