Effort to save USS Olympia goes online

By From page A10 | February 26, 2014

VALLEJO — The campaign to raise money to restore the Spanish-American War-era armored cruiser USS Olympia and bring it to Mare Island’s Dry Dock No. 1 as a permanent exhibit is going online.

The Mare Island Historic Park Foundation announced Monday that it is kicking off the Operation Olympia crowdfunding campaign to raise the $300,000 needed to complete the planning required to show that the foundation is capable of acquiring the vessel, according to the press release.

Built in 1895, the Olympia was the flagship for Commodore George Dewey during the 1898 Battle of Manila Bay. The vessel is on display at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia.

The foundation has been trying for more than two years to acquire Olympia after the museum in Philadelphia began considering disposing of the vessel, due to the ship’s declining condition, rising deferred maintenance costs and an estimated $10 million cost to repair it.

“It was from Olympia’s decks that American sailors thrust the United States into our role as a world power,” said the foundation’s Olympia Project Manager Dennis Kelly in the press release.

The online campaign is on the Indiegogo platform, which raised more than $55,000 to send the Jamaican bobsled team to the Olympics. It can be viewed at www.indiegogo.com/projects/679367/emal/5948288′.

“The key to success will be to attain wide distribution on social media. We ask our supporters to share this site with your contacts to help us reach the largest possible audience,” said foundation President Ken Zadwick in the release. “If we can’t bring Olympia back to the public conscience, then we may as well be lighting the scrappers’ torches ourselves.”

For more information about the Olympia and the foundation’s efforts to acquire it, go to www.mareislandmuseum.org.

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ithompsondr.

Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson has worked for the Daily Republic longer than he cares to remember. A native of Oregon and a graduate of the University of Oregon, he pines for the motherland still. He covers Vacaville and Travis Air Force Base for the Daily Republic. He is an avid military history buff, wargamer and loves the great outdoors.

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  • John AndersonFebruary 26, 2014 - 10:04 am

    Built right here at Union Iron Works, San Francisco! The famous command "You may fire when ready, Gridley!" was given on her bridge by Commodore Dewey. Great idea to save this ship and place her ashore, in a drydock....the very LAST of her breed and era.

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