- Length: 344 Feet
- Beam: 53 feet
- Displacement: 5,870 tons
- Crew: 33 Officers, 396 enlisted men
- Top Speed: 22 knots (25mph)
- Coal Consumption at Top Speed: 633 lbs./minute
Launched in 1892, The Olympia (C-6) is the oldest steel warship afloat in the world.
From the moment of her launching in 1892, Olympia
was a rare treasure in the U.S. naval fleet, as no sister ships were ever built. She is the world's oldest floating steel warship and the sole surviving naval ship of the Spanish-American War.
Olympia served as Admiral Dewey's flagship at the Battle of Manila Bay, which marked the U.S.'s emergence as a world naval power. Olympia's last official naval mission was to carry the body of the Unknown Soldier from France to the United States in 1921. In addition to being a National Historic Landmark, Olympia is also a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark, on the National Register of Historic Places, and part of the Save America's Treasures program.
Spanish American War
On May 1, 1898, in an eight-hour battle, Olympia devastated the Spanish fleet at the Battle of Manila Bay in the Philippines. This was not only the first victory of the Spanish-American War, but the Olympia's efforts helped catapult the United States into the role of superpower and won fame for her most famous officer, Commodore George Dewey. It was from Olympia's recently restored bridge that Dewey delivered his famous order, "You may fire when you are ready, Gridley."
World War I
Olympia served with anti-submarine escort convoys protecting shipping in the Atlantic from German U-boat attacks. Later, she was sent to Murmansk to engage the Bolsheviks in the newly formed USSR.
As the most significant commissioned US warship capable of making the journey, the Olympia was selected for the honor of bringing the Unknown Soldier home for interment in the United States.
Cruiser Olympia was decommissioned in 1922 and has been part of Independence Seaport Museum since 1996.
Olympia is a National Historic Landmark, a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark, is on the National Register of Historic Places, and is part of the Save America's Treasures program.
Cannonball Press, The Bounding Billow: A Philagrafika Project
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Visit our Living History Crew on Facebook.
Visit the Spanish-American War Centennial website.