USS Constellation Museum (Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.)

USS Constellation with Museum Gallery at left

After our visit to the World War II vintage cutter USCGC Taney, Jandy, Kyle and I walked some distance, from Pier 1, to get to Pier 5 where the museum ship USS Constellation, a sloop-of-war/corvette is berthed, the last of two ships we were to visit using our Squadron Pass. This would our first time to go aboard and explore a three-masted sailing ship.

The author with the USS Constellation in the background

Now a part of Historic Ships in Baltimore, Constellation and her companions are major contributing elements in the Baltimore National Heritage Area.

Check out “The Historic Ships of Baltimore

Exhibit at Museum Gallery

Here are some interesting trivia regarding the Constellation:

  • It had a length of 60.96 m. (200 ft.), a beam width of 13.11 m. (43 ft.), a draft of 6.4 m. (21 ft.), displaced 1,400 lbs. and had a typical operating crew of 285 including a Marine detachment of 45.
  • She was built using some recycled materials salvaged from the old, 38-gun frigate USS Constellation (launched in 1797), which had been disassembled the year before at Gosport Navy Yard in Norfolk, Virginia. She is the second U.S. Navy ship to carry this famous name.
  • In 1955, when the sloop-of-war was brought to Baltimore as a museum ship, it was under the mistaken belief that it was its predecessor, the 1797 frigate Constellation. Over the next four decades, the 1854 ship was “restored” to look like the older ship. In the early 1990s, a US Navy research team, led by Dana Wegner, conclusively proved the ship’s true identity.
  • Despite being a single-gun deck “sloop,” she was actually larger than her original frigate built, and more powerfully armed, with fewer (22) but much more potent shell-firing guns.  On commissioning, she had 16 x VIII-inch shell guns, 4 x 32-pounder guns and 2 x X-inch pivot mounted shell guns. During the American Civil War, she was equipped with 16 x VIII-inch shell Dahlgren guns (primary), 4 x 32-pounder guns (secondary), 1 x 30-pounder pivot mounted Parrott Rifle (bow) and 1 x 20-pounder pivot mounted Parrott Rifle (stern). She also had 3 x 12-pounder bronze howitzers for close-in fighting.
  • Her sail rigging, typical of the time, was set across 3 primary masts.
  • She had a surface speed of 21 knots (14 mph).
  • She is the last existing intact naval vessel, still afloat, from the American Civil War.
  • She was one of the last wind-powered (sail-only) warships built by the United States Navy.
  • She has been assigned the hull classification symbol IX-20.
  • About one-half of the lines used to rig the vessel are present (amounting to several miles of rope and cordage).

Here is the historical timeline of this ship:

  • Designed by John Lenthall, she was constructed at the Norfolk Navy Yard
  • Launched on August 26, 1854 and commissioned on July 28, 1855, with Captain Charles H. Bell in command, the Constellation  performed largely diplomatic duties, from 1855 to 1858, as part of the S. Mediterranean Squadron.
  • On July 1856, while on station, Constellation was dispatched to protect American lives and property at Malaga, Spain, during a revolution in that country.
  • That same year, while cruising in the Sea of Marmora, she rescued a barque in distress, receiving, from the court of the Austrian emperor, an official message in appreciation.
  • From 1859 to 1861, she was the flagship of the 8-ship Africa Squadron, taking part in African Slave Trade Patrol operations to disrupt the Atlantic slave trade. The ship interdicted three slave ships and released the imprisoned Africans.
  • On December 21, 1859, the Constellation captured the  Delicia, a brig fitted out as a slave ship (but with no slaves on board) which was without colors or papers to show her nationality.
  • On September 26, 1860, she captured the Cora, a “fast little bark” with 705 slaves who were set free in Monrovia, Liberia.
  • On May 21, 1861, in African coastal waters, the Constellation overpowered the Charleston-registered Triton, a slaver brig, one of the U.S. Navy’s first captures during the American Civil War.
  • During the Civil War, she spent much of the war in the Mediterranean Sea as a deterrent to Confederate cruisers and commerce raiders.
  • After the Civil War, Constellation spent a number of years as a receiving ship (floating naval barracks) in Norfolk, and later in Philadelphia, until 1869.
  • From March to July 1878, she carried exhibits to the 1878 Exposition Universelle in Paris
  • From March to June 1880, during the 1879 Irish famine, she carried 2,500 barrels of flour and potatoes for famine victims in Ireland.
  • In 1894, after being used as a practice ship for Naval Academy midshipmen, the Constellation became a training ship for Naval Training Center Newport.
  • During World War I, she helped train more than 60,000 recruits.
  • Decommissioned in 1933, the Constellation was recommissioned in 1940, by President Franklin Roosevelt, as a national symbol.
  • During World War II, she remained in Newport, spending much her time as relief (i.e. reserve) flagship for the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. From May 21, 1941, the Constellation was the relief flagship for Ernest J. King and, later, from January 19 to July 20, 1942 and from 1943 to 1944, for his replacement Vice Admiral Royal E. Ingersoll.
  • In October 1946, the Constellation was moved to Boston, where she was kept, together with the venerable USS Constitution, as a naval relic. She remained in commission until 1954.
  • Decommissioned, for the last time, on February 2, 1955, she was moved to Baltimore and taken to her permanent berth.
  • On May 23, 1963, the Constellation was designated as a National Historic Landmark.
  • On October 15, 1966, she was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • In 1994, the Constellation was condemned as an unsafe vessel. Her rigging was removed an she was closed to the public.
  • In 1996, she was towed to a drydock at Sparrows Point, near Fort McHenry, and a US$9 million rebuilding and restoration project was undertaken and completed on July 2, 1999. In an attempt to safeguard the wood planking, the hull from the waterline to the keel was covered in a fiberglass coating and painted an aqua-blue.
  • On October 26, 2004, Constellation made her first trip, since 1955, out of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Lasting six days, the trip to the S. Naval Academy in Annapolis  marked her first trip to Annapolis in 111 years.
  • In late 2012, it was determined the wood hull behind the fiberglass sheathing, installed during the 1996–98 rebuilding, contained significant rotting.
  • From 2014 to 2015, over a 6-month period, the ship was again put in dry dock and rebuilt with fresh (and chemically treated to resist rotting) wood planking.
  • In late March 2015, the rebuilt ship was returned to her Inner Harbor berth and her rigging was completed
  • By May 2015, she was again opened to the public.

Top or spar deck

20 pounder, pivot-mounted Parrott Rifle at the stern

To get aboard, we had to enter the two-storey Museum Gallery Building (where USS Constellation’s history is portrayed through artifacts and personal effects which belonged to the ship’s crew), climb the stairs to the second floor and cross a gangplank to the ship.

Kyle at the gun deck

Jandy beside a VIII-inch Dahlgren gun

Nearly all of the ship was accessible during our tour. We went down to all 4 wooden decks, each one different, and there were plenty of things to see on each.

Ship’s Stove

Galley Provisions

Compared to the USCGC Taney, the Constellation’s stairs leading to the lower decks , though still steep and narrow, were still much easier to go up and down.

Check out “USCGC Taney

Bilge and Fire Pump

Arms Chest

There are plenty of signs and visual aids to explain everything.The male guide, dressed in uniform of the period, was very knowledgeable on the ship’s history.

Captain’s Office

 

Captain’s Stateroom

The top or spar deck, the highest of the continuous decks running the full length (stem to the stern) of a ship, was where all sailing operations took place.  The ship’s wheel, binnaclefife rails, and so forth, are also mounted here. The ship’s sails here were large and quite impressive.

Dining Table

Officers Quarters

The next deck down is the gun deck where the ship’s main battery of VIII-inch Dahlgren guns, the Captain’s Cabin, the Officers Quarters and the Galley are located. The ship’s officers (Executive Officer; Master; Marine Lieutenant; Second, Third, Fourth & Fifth Lieutenants; Chaplain, Paymaster; Surgeon) each had individual living quarters with beds.

Executive Officer’s Quarters

Master’s Quarters

The captain, on the other hand, had a large spacious area to himself, complete with dining table, bath, study, and the only private, old-school toilet on deck (it had a window view).

Second Lieutenant-Navigator’s Quarters

Chaplain’s Quarters

We explored further, going down another flight of steps to reach the berth deck where the majority of the crew  lived and socialized and where their hammocks are slung.

Pantry

Despensary

Going down one more ladder brought us to the ship’s hold where food, water and gear for the crew  was stowed.  The top deck (spar deck) and gun deck are accessible via wheelchair lifts. The headroom on the two lower decks was low.

Stairs leading to Berth Deck

Berth Deck

A trip way back in maritime history, for tall ships it’s hard to beat the Constellation as we saw how the sailors slept (not very comfortable I should imagine as they slept on hammocks with no privacy) and ate on the ship, giving us a real feel at how hard it was to live on a ship back then.

Ship’s Hold

USS Constellation: Pier 1, Constellation Dock, 301 East Pratt St., Inner Harbor, BaltimoreMaryland 21202-3134, United States. Tel: 410-539-1797 (Main Office) and 410-396-3453 (Group Sales/ Education Office).  Fax: 410-539-6238. Open daily, 10 AM – 4:30 PM. E-mail: administration@historicships.org. Website: www.historicships.org. Admission: US$18 (Fleet Pass – 4 ships entry), UUS$15 (Squadron Pass – 2 ships entry). Tickets may be purchased on-line or at ticket locations on Pier 1, Pier 3 or on board the USCGC Taney.

Tours are regularly available, self-guided or with the assistance of staff. Tour groups can participate in demonstrations such as “turning the yards” and operating the capstan on the main deck to raise/lower cargo. Daily, a cannon firing is also demonstrated. Star-Spangled Spectacular visitors, with limited mobility and one companion, may tour the USS Constellation free on September 11, 12, 14 and 15, during her regular scheduled operating hours.

USCGC Taney (Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.)

USCG Cutter Taney

During our tour of The Historic Ships of Baltimore, Jandy, Kyle and I first visited the USCGC Taney, a United States Coast Guard High Endurance Cutter (WPG/WAGC/WHEC-37), one of two of the famed Treasury-class (out of seven total) Coast Guard cutters still afloat.

The author and Kyle at the deck of USCG Cutter Taney

Kyle sitting on the pilot’s deck seat

It is notable for being the last ship afloat (a non-combatant vessel at Pearl Harbor, the US Navy tug Hoga, also remains afloat) that fought in the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor (although Taney was actually moored in nearby Honolulu Harbor not Pearl Harbor itself).

The Pilot’s Room

Log Office

This destroyer-size cutter, named after famed Maryland Supreme Court Justice Roger B. Taney (who was, at various times, US Attorney GeneralSecretary of the Treasury, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court), was 327 ft. long, with a beam of 41 ft., and originally displaced 2000 tons.

Taney at Pearl Harbor Exhibit

Here are some interesting historical trivia regarding this ship’s distinguished career:

  • The Taney was laid on May 1, 1935, at the Philadelphia Navy Yard where she was built alongside three of her sister ships, Campbell, Duane and Ingham.
  • She was launched on June 3, 1936 and commissioned on October 24 that same year. It was first home ported in Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Designed for peacetime missions of law enforcement, search and rescue, and maritime patrol, its original armament consisted of two 5”/51 caliber deck guns, and two 6-pounder saluting guns. It was also originally equipped to carry a Grumman JF-2 “Duck” float plane.
  • In May or June 1937, the Roger B. Taney’s name was shortened to simply Taney.
  • In the pre-war years, Taney she interdicted opium smugglers and carried out search and rescue duties from the Hawaiian Islands through the central Pacific Ocean and made regular cruises to the equatorial Line Islands (Kanton and Enderbury Islands), some 1500 miles southwest of Oahu, to re-supply and support to American colonists there.
  • In 1937, Taney participated in the search for missing aviator Amelia Earhart.
  • In 1940 and 1941, in anticipation of war, she received successive armament upgrades that included an additional 5”/51 caliber gun on the fantail (where her float plane once stood), three 3”/50 caliber dual purpose guns (capable of shooting at both surface and airborne targets), additional .50 caliber machine guns, depth charge racks and throwers, and sonar for locating submarines.
  • On the eve of Pearl Harbor, though she retained her Coast Guard crew, Taney was officially assigned to the US Navy’s Destroyer Division 80.
  • On December 7, 1941, when Japanese aircraft attacked Pearl Harbor and other American military installations in Hawaii, she was tied up at Pier 6, Honolulu, where she was able to repeatedly engage Japanese planes which over flew the city. When the attack subsided, it immediately set out to search for Japanese submarines off Pearl Harbor. Although it did not locate any, the ship received the American Defense Service Medal for the crew’s quick and courageous action.
  • From December 1941 until the fall of 1943, Taney operated from the west coast of the US through the Central Pacific, carrying out anti-submarine patrols, convoy escort duties as well as special assignments.
  • In 1942, after the Battle of Midway, she was one of many ships searching for survivors
  • In July 1943, while delivering a US Navy survey party to Baker Island along the Equator, the cutter fought off an attack by a Japanese “Mavis” patrol bomber.
  • In the fall of 1943, after a major refit at Mare Island (during which the ship lost her older 5”/51s and 3”/50s and received four 5”/38 caliber dual purpose guns), Taney was transferred to the Atlantic Theater where she served as Flagship of Task Force 66, US Atlantic Fleet and was the command vessel for six convoys of troop and supply ships between the US and North Africa.
  • On the evening of April 20, 1944, off the coast of North Africa, Taney narrowly dodged several torpedoes while fending off a large scale attack by German Junkers Ju 88and Heinkel He 111 medium bombers against Convoy UGS-38. Three ships were lost in the attack including the ammunition ship SS Paul Hamilton and the destroyer USS Lansdale.
  • In 1945, after a dramatic reconfiguration as an Amphibious Command Ship (AGC), Taney returned to the Pacific.
  • During the Battle of Okinawa, the cutter was the flagship of Rear Admiral Calvin Cobb, USN, who commanded a variety of naval operations off the island of Ie Shima, immediately northwest of Okinawa.
  • During April and May 1945, at the height of the campaign during 119 separate engagements in which her crew stood to battle stations, Taney was under frequent attack and was credited with destroying four Kamikaze suicide planes and 1 Mitsubishi G4M “Betty” bomber and assisted in numerous other “kills.”
  • Immediately after the end of the Pacific war, on September 11, 1945, Taney steamed into Japanese home waters at Wakayama, where it received American and other Allied prisoners-of-war and assisted with their evacuation.
  • During the Korean War, Taney received additional anti-submarine weapons and frequently carried out plane-guard duties off Midway Island and Adak, Alaska.
  • Following World War II, Taney was reconfigured for peacetime duties and, from 1946 until 1972, she was home ported in Alameda, California. Known as “The Queen of the Pacific,” she carried out virtually every peacetime Coast Guard duty including decades of Ocean Weather Patrol throughout the Pacific, fisheries patrols in the Bearing Sea and countless search and rescue missions.
  • On April 27, 1960, Taney had the honor to host French President Charles de Gaulle on his VIP tour of San Francisco Bay.
  • By the late 1960s, Taney had become the last United States vessel still in commission that had seen action during the December 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Hawaii. Consequently, from that time on, she was often referred to as “The Last Survivor of Pearl Harbor.”
  • In 1969-70, during the Vietnam War, Taney participated in “Operation Market Time” in the South China Sea. As a unit of Coast Guard Squadron III, she interdicted illegal arms and supplies by inspecting 1,000 vessels along the coast of South Vietnam, fired over 3,400 rounds of 5”/38 ammunition, in support of American and South Vietnamese troops, and provided medical assistance to more than 5,000 Vietnamese civilians. For the crew’s service, the government of the Republic of South Vietnam awarded, in February 1970, Taney with the Vietnam Presidential Unit Citation.
  • In February 1972, Taney was reassigned, from the 12th Coast Guard District in San Francisco, to the 5th Coast Guard District in Virginia.
  • From 1973 to 1977, Taney carried out Ocean Weather Patrol at Weather Station HOTEL, some 200 miles off the coast of New Jersey, as well as “hurricane hunting” (for which she received a special Doppler weather radar installation atop her pilot house).
  • In September 1977, Taney had the distinction of completing the Coast Guard’s last ocean weather patrol when she closed out Ocean Weather Station HOTEL.
  • From 1977 until 1986, Taney carried out search and rescue duties, fisheries patrols in the North Atlantic, drug interdiction patrols in the Caribbean, and summer training cruises for the Coast Guard Academy. During this period she made 11 major seizures of illegal drug including a 1985 bust which netted 160 tons of marijuana – the largest in US history.

Operation Market Time Exhibit

Over her distinguished career, Taney received three battle stars for World War II service and numerous theater ribbons for service in World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam War.

National Historic Landmark Plaque

After more than 50 years of service, Taney was decommissioned on December 7, 1986 at Portsmouth, Virginia and given to the City of Baltimore, Maryland as a memorial and museum ship in the Inner Harbor as part of the Historic Ships in Baltimore collection.

Check out “The Historic Ships of Baltimore

Ammunition Hoist

Radio Room

In 1988, USCGC  Taney was added to the National Register of Historic Places and, on the same day, was also designated as a National Historic Landmark. Taney is included in the Baltimore National Heritage Area.

Galley

Common Mess Area

During our tour, much of the ship was open to walk through.  We explored both below decks and up to the bridge. Upon close inspection, this museum ship is not exactly a World War II time capsule like USS Missouri and other veteran ships.

Sickbay

Throughout her life, she had been modernized and her spaces are more typical of a naval ship of the 1980s, the decade when she was decommissioned, rather than the 1940s.

Crew Berthing Area

Items of circa 1986 shipboard life include personal items and clothing in living quarters, offices with cabinets and typewriters, an ammunition room still loaded with training rounds, and stocked damage control lockers.

Soogie, the ship’s mascot dog

Crew’s Head

Some spaces have been repurposed for museum exhibits that focused on events the ship played a role (Pearl Harbor, Okinawa, Vietnam War, etc.).

Ship’s Store

Barber shop

USCGC Taney: Pier 5, Baltimore Maritime Museum, 301 East Pratt St., Baltimore, Maryland  21202-3134, United States.  Open spring, summer and fall Sundays-Thursdays, 10 AM to 5:30 PM; Fridays & Saturdays, 10AM to 6:30 PM. During the winter, it is open Fridays-Sundays only: 10:30 AM to 5 PM. Tel: 410-396-3453. E-mail: administration@historicships.org. Website: www.historicships.org. Admission: US$18 (Fleet Pass – 4 ships entry), UUS$15 (Squadron Pass – 2 ships entry). Tickets may be purchased on-line or at ticket locations on Pier 1, Pier 3 or on board the USCGC Taney.

How to Get There:  The Inner Harbor is accessible by bus, light rail, and metro subway (one-way rides are US$1.60). The light rail station closest to the ship is located at the Convention Center on Pratt Street (nine blocks west of the harbor). The closest metro station is Market Place at Power Plant Live (three blocks north and two blocks east of the submarine). There are also several bus routes that serve the Inner Harbor.

The Historic Ships of Baltimore (Maryland, U.S.A.)

The Historic Ships of Baltimore

One of the highlights during our 2-night stay in Baltimore was our visit to The Historic Ships of Baltimore, a maritime museum located in the Inner Harbor of Baltimore, an opportunity too good to miss for a nautical buff. An affiliate of the Living Classrooms Foundation,  it represents one of the most impressive collections of military vessels in the world.  Exhibiting life at sea, from the mid-19th century to the mid-1980’s, it was created as a result of the merger of the USS Constellation Museum and the Baltimore Maritime Museum.

Jandy posing with the World War II submarine USS Torsk in the background

The museum’s collection, all located within easy walking distance of each other, features four historic and well-maintained museum ships from four different times in history.  The USS Constellation, a 1854 sloop-of-war in Pier 1, was the last all-sail warship built by the US Navy.

Check out “USS Constellation Museum

USCG Cutter Taney

The USCGC Taney (WHEC-37), a Coast Guard cutter in Pier 5, is the last surviving vessel to witness the December 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  The USS Torsk (SS-423), a World War II-era, Trench-class (one of 10) submarine in Pier 3 commissioned in 1940, torpedoed the Coast Defense Vessels #13 and #47 on August 14, 1945, the last two enemy combatants of World War II.  The Chesapeake, a lightship (which marked the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay) in Pier 3 built in 1930, was a navigational aid with beacons mounted on it.

Check out “USCGC Taney

The author posing with the lightship Chesapeake in the background

Also included in the collection is the 40 ft. high Seven Foot Knoll Light, a screw-pile lighthouse in Pier 5 built in 1856. One of the oldest Chesapeake Bay area lighthouses, it was erected at the mouth of the Patapso River, on a shallow shoal called the Seven Foot Knoll. For over 130 years, it marked the entrance to the Patapsco River and Baltimore Harbor. The three ships (USS Constellation, USCGC Taney and the USS Torsk) are National Historic Landmarks and all five are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Seven Foot Knoll Light

Jandy, Kyle and I availed of the Squadron Pass and visited the USCGC Taney and the USS Constellation (by far, our favorite). Our interesting and educational visit gave us a good overview of different parts of the nautical world and of Baltimore’s heritage as a major seaport.  Both ships were amazing to walk through as they had much of their original furnishings (like uniforms, desks, etc) for effect (where needed, accurate replicas where made).

Jandy with the American Civil War-era sloop-of-war USS Constellation in the background

Historic Ships in Baltimore: 301 East Pratt St., Baltimore, Maryland  21202-3134, United States. Tel: 410-539-1797 (Main Office) and 410-396-3453 (Group Sales/ Education Office).  Fax: 410-539-6238. Open daily, 10 AM – 4:30 PM. E-mail: administration@historicships.org. Website: www.historicships.org. Admission: US$18 (Fleet Pass – 4 ships entry), UUS$15 (Squadron Pass – 2 ships entry). Tickets may be purchased on-line or at ticket locations on Pier 1, Pier 3 or on board the USCGC Taney. Admission is free at the Seven Foot Knoll Light.

The Moshulu (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)

Moshulu

After our visit to the Independence Seaport Museum and the museum ships USS Olympia and USS Becuna, Jandy and I, our curiosity piqued, hopped over to the adjacent Moshulu which was also docked at Penn’s Landing.  We discovered it was a floating restaurant and, as it wasn’t officially opened yet (it opens at 5 PM), asked permission if we could explore this  four-masted steel barque, a first for both of us.

Check out “Independence Seaport Museum,” “Independence Seaport Museum – USS Olympia” and “Independence Seaport Museum – USS Becuna

We weren’t here to try out its food but the Moshulu’s dining rooms and outdoor decks do take full advantage of the unparalleled views of the city skyline and waterfront.

The author at the upper deck of the Moshulu

Jandy

Here are some interesting trivia regarding this ship:

  • The Moshulu is the largest remaining original windjammer in the world. Whilst windjammers exist and sail the seas to this day, the last windjammer carrying cargo was the Peruvian Omega (ex Drumcliff) which was in use until her loss in 1958.
  • She was built by William Hamilton and Company, on the River Clyde in Scotland and, along with her sister ship Hans, was one of the last four-masted steel barques to be built on the river (Archibald Russell was launched in 1905).
  • Moshulu is the world’s oldest and largest square rigged sailing vessel still afloat.
  • She is the only restaurant venue on a tall ship in the world.
  • The Moshulu was originally named Kurtafter Dr. Kurt Siemers, director-general and president of H. J. Siemers & Co, a Hamburg shipping company.
  • She was built at a cost of £36,000.
  • The Moshulu was built for G. H. J. Siemers & Co. and originally used in the nitrate
  • Moshulu was made famous by the books of famous travel writer  Eric Newby who, at the age of 18, was apprenticed aboard the Moshulu, joining the ship in Belfast in 1938. The journey was documented in Newby’s books The Last Grain Race (1956, refers to the last grain race before the outbreak of World War II) and Learning the Ropes: An Apprentice in the Last of the Windjammers (1999, contains more than 150 of the photographs Newby took while aboard).
  • Moshulu’s route to Australia took her around Cape Horn a remarkable 54 times without incident.
  • On June 10, 1939, Moshulu wins the very last race of square-rigged sailing ships between Australia and Europe while carrying 59,000 bags of grain, weighing 4875 tons with a record speed of 16 knots in 91 days (15,000 miles) from Australia to Queenstown Cobh Ireland, a faster passage than that of any of the other sailing ships making similar passages that year.
  • Its restaurant has gained recognition as an award winning, AAA 4 Diamond rated Restaurant, Bar and Deck.

The Moshulu had the following general characteristics:

  • Length: 121 m. (396 ft., overall), 109 m. (359 ft., on deck), 102.2 m. (33.5.3 ft., between perpendiculars)
  • Beam: 14.3 m. (46.9 ft.)
  • Height: 65 m. (212 ft., keel to masthead truck), 56 m. (185 ft., main deck to masthead truck)
  • Draft: 7.4 m. (24.3 ft.) at 5,300 tons
  • Depth: 8.5 m. (28 ft., depth molded)
  • Depth of Hold: 8.1 m. (26.6 ft.)
  • Displacement: 7,000 ts (1,700 ts ship + 5,300 ts cargo)
  • Sail Plan: 180 m²; 34 sails: 18 square sails, 3 spankers, 13 staysails
  • Depths: 2 continuous steel decks, poop, midship bridge and forecastle decks
  • Installed Power: no auxiliary propulsion; donkey enginefor sail winches, steam rudder
  • Propulsion: wind
  • Highest Recorded Speed: 17 knots(31 kms./hr.)
  • Complement: 35 crew (maximum)
  • Crew: 33 (captain, 1st & 2nd mate, 1 steward, 29 able seamen)[
  • Boats & landing craft carried: 4 lifeboats

Here’s a timeline of the ship’s history:

  • On April 18, 1904, the Kurt was launched with Captain Christian Schütt as her first master.
  • Between 1904 and 1914, under German ownership, Kurt shipped coal from Wales to South America, nitrate from Chile to Germany, coal from Australia to Chile, and coke and patent fuel from Germany to Santa RosalíaMexico.
  • In 1908, under the command of Captain Wolfgang H. G. Tönissen, she made a fast voyage from Newcastle, Australia, to Valparaíso with a cargo of coal in 31 days.
  • In 1914, upon the outbreak of World War I, Kurt was sailed to Oregon, under the command of Captain Tönissen, then laid up in Astoria.
  • In 1917, when the United States entered the war, she was seized as prize booty, kept in commission and  temporarily renamed the Dreadnought (“one who fears nothing”) but, as there was already a sailing ship of that name registered in the US, she was renamed the Moshulu (which had the same meaning in the Seneca language) by Edith Wilson, the First Lady of the United States and wife of President Woodrow Wilson (who was of Indian extraction herself).
  • Between 1917 and 1920, Moshulu was owned by the U.S. Shipping Board and carried wool and chrome between North America, Manila and Australia.
  • From 1920 to 1922, it was owned by the Moshulu Navigation Co. (Charles Nelson & Co., a lumber firm) of San Francisco
  • In 1922, Moshulu was sold to James Tyson of San Francisco and, that same year, was repurchased by Charles Nelson.
  • From 1920 to 1928, the big four-masted barque ran in the timber trade along the U.S. west coast to Australia and South Africa.
  • In 1928, after her last timber run to Melbourne and Geelong, Australia, Moshulu was laid up in Los Angeles.
  • Later on, she was kept in places in or near SeattleWashingtonLake Union, Winslow on (Puget Sound), and Esquimaltin British ColumbiaCanada 190 kms. (100 nautical miles) northwest of Seattle.
  • In 1935, the Moshulu was bought for $12,000 by Gustaf Erikson of Finland, a successful ship owner of 25 vessels, 11 four-masted barque windjammers, who had found profits in bringing grain from Australia.
  • On March 14, 1935, when the contract was signed, Captain Gunnar Boman took over the ship and sailed Moshulu to Port Victoria. Gustaf Erikson had her operate in the grain trade from Australia to Europe. During the period of Erikson ownership the working language of the ship was Swedish, even though it sailed under the Finnish flag. The ship’s home port at the time, Mariehamn, is in the Swedish-speaking Åland Islandsof Finland.
  • At the end of 1938, the ship left Belfast, under the command of Captain Mikael Sjögren, sailing to Port Lincoln, in South Australia, with a load of ballast stone, arriving there in 82 days, a good passage for a windjammer. In Port Victoria, Moshulu took 4,875 tons of bagged grain on board and began her return voyage to Ireland. She had a crew of 33, which included two Americans, J. Ferrell Colton of Molokai, Hawaii (publisher of “Windjammer Significant”) and John W. Albright of Long Beach, California (who would become a square rigged ship captain himself).
  • On June 10, 1939, Moshulu arrives in Queenstown (Cobh, Ireland) winning the very last race of square-rigged sailing ships between Australia and Europe.
  • In November 1942, when she returned to KristiansandNorway, again under the command of Captain Mikael Sjögren and with a cargo of wheat from Buenos Aires, the ship was seized by the Germans and, step-by-step, stripped of her mast and spars.
  • in 1947, after breaking her mooring and capsizing in a storm close to shore at a beach in Østervik near Narvik,  she was demasted by a salvaging company
  • On July 1948, she was re-erected, stabilized and towed to Bergen. The ship’s hull was sold to Trygve Sommerfeldt of Oslo.
  • A few months later, the ship was transferred to Sweden
  • From 1948 to 1952, she was used as a grain store in Stockholm.
  • She was then sold to the German ship owner Heinz Schliewen, who wanted to put her back to use under the name Oplagas, a merchant marine training ship carrying cargo. Schliewen already used the four-masted steel barques Pamir and Passat (both former Flying P-Liners) for that purpose, but before Moshulu was re-rigged, Schliewen went into bankruptcy.
  • In 1953 Moshulu was sold to the Swedish Farmers’ State Union (Svenska Lantmännens Riksförbund) of Stockholm
  • Beginning on November 16, 1953, she was used as a floating warehouse.
  • In 1961, the FinnishState Granary bought the ship for 3,200 tons of Russian rye.  She was towed to a small and picturesque bay in Naantali, a town near Turku, and she continued to be used as a grain warehouse.
  • In 1970, the ship was bought by David Tallichet of the American Specialty Restaurants Corporation, who rigged her out in Scheveningen, Netherlands with machine (not hand) welded masts, yards, standing rigging and lines, of lighter materials. Other sources have it that The Walt Disney Company bought the ship but soon transferred it to the American “Specialty Restaurants Corporation.”
  • In 1974, she was towed to South Street Seaport, New York City.
  • In 1975, the Moshulu was opened as a restaurant
  • In 1989, the she closed after being damaged by a four-alarm fire.
  • In 1994, the Moshulu was purchased by HMS Ventures, Inc. and, under Mrs. Dodo Hamilton of the Campbell’s Soup family, was painstakingly restored in Camden to her original glory
  • In 1996, it was docked at Pier 34 on Philadelphia’s waterfront and opened as a restaurant on the Delaware River.
  • In 2002, the Moshulu was relocated to its current location under restaurateur Martin Grims.
  • On May 2003, its current owners, SCC Restaurants LLC, reopened the restaurant. 

Reception

The Moshulu was featured in the following movies:

  • Rocky(during one of Rocky’s workout sessions along the waterfront)
  • The Godfather Part II(seen as the young Vito Corleone (Andolini) arrives in New York in 1901, two years before it was built)
  • The end scene of the movie Blow Out.

Moshulu: Penn’s Landing, 401 S. Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106 (Click here for map). Tel: 215.923.2500. Fax: 215.829.1604.  E-mail: info@moshulu.com.  Website: www.moshulu.com. Open Mondays– Thursdays, 5 to 9 PM; Fridays & Saturdays, 5 to 10PM; Sundays 10AM to 2:30PM and 5 to 9PM.

Independence Seaport Museum – USS Becuna (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)

USS Becuna

After exploring the exhibits of the Independence Seaport Museum, Jandy and I went out to the waterfront and boarded the World War II/Cold War submarine USS Becuna, anchored next to Admiral George Dewey‘s flagship the USS Olympia, to check the innards of the submarine, a first for both of us, and get a glimpse of all aspects of a submariner’s life.

Check out “Independence Seaport Museum – USS Olympia

National Historic Landmark Plaque

Jandy at the conning tower

Both boats are very good static displays and kept in pretty good condition. The USS Becuna (SS/AGSS-319), a Balao-class diesel-electric submarine of the United States Navy nicknamed “Becky,” was named for the becuna, a pike-like fish of Europe.

Forward Engine Room

Forward Torpedo Room

The author at the crew’s berthing area

Exploring the full length of the sub, from stem to stern, requires going into tight spaces (the small hatches, requiring a degree of flexibility, could be tough to maneuver through) and using ladders and steps, so it not a good attraction for those needing accessibility as well as those who are extremely claustrophobic.

After Engine Room

Control Room

Maneuvering Room

You can rush through the tour in only a few minutes but, if you take the time, you can spend the time looking at all of the pipes wires and valves and really feel what it was like to live and work in the extremely tight quarters on this sub.

Captain’s Stateroom

Chief Petty Officer’s Stateroom

The Captain’s stateroom was tiny. We weren’t able to see the conning tower and periscopes as it’s only included in the highly recommended “Behind the Scenes” tour which we were too late for.

Junior Officer’s Stateroom

Senior Officers Quarters

Officers’ Wardroom

Here’s the timeline of the submarine’s operational history:

  • On April 10, 1942, the order to build submarine Becuna was issued.
  • On April 29, 1942, the keel of submarine is laid down
  • On January 30, 1944, she was launched by Electric Boat Company (Groton, Connecticut) and sponsored by Mrs. George C. Crawford, wife of Cmdr. George C. Crawford.
  • On May 27, 1944, The USS Becuna (SS-319) was commissioned with Lt.-Cmdr. H. D. Sturr in command.
  • On July 1, 1944, she departs New London, Connecticut
  • On July 7, 1944, the USS Becuna detects a hostile submarine in the Atlantic Ocean and fires four torpedoes at the target; all torpedoes missed and contact with the enemy submarine was lost.
  • On July 27, 1944, she arrives at Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii
  • On August 23, 1944, the USS Becuna departs Pearl Harbor for her first war patrol
  • On September 1, 1944, she comes across a Japanese soldier in a small boat. After taking the soldier prisoner, she sinks the boat with machine gun fire.
  • On September 24, 1944, she fires three torpedoes at a Japanese transport in the Luzon Strait south of Taiwan but all torpedoes miss.
  • On September 25, 1944, the USS Becuna fires three torpedoes at a Japanese destroyer in the Luzon Strait south of Taiwan but all torpedoes miss.
  • On October 8, 1944, she damages the Japanese tanker Kimikawa Maru in the South China Sea with two of four torpedoes fired.
  • On October 9, 1944, the USS Becuna attacks a Japanese convoy in the South China Sea, claiming two sunk and two damaged; ten torpedoes were expended, seven of them made contact.
  • On November 16, 1944, she departs Fremantle, Australia for her second war patrol.
  • On November 17, 1944, the USS Becuna damages four Japanese ships – the tanker San Luis Maru, tanker Tokuwa Maru, a transport and cargo ship.
  • On January 2, 1945, she sinks two small vessels between Malaya and Borneo in two separate engagements with her deck gun.
  • On February 22, 1945, the USS Becuna fires ten torpedoes at a Japanese convoy in the South China Sea, with one torpedo making contact and sinking the Japanese tanker Nichiyoko Maru.
  • On May 22, 1945, she departs for her fourth war patrol, on lifeguard station for carrier air crews.
  • On June 21, 1945, USS Becuna departs for her fifth war patrol.
  • On July 15, 1945, she attacks a Japanese Otori-class torpedo boat without effect.
  • On July 27, 1945, the submarine arrives at Subic BayLuzon
  • On September 22, 1945, she arrives at San Diego, California and is assigned to the Submarine Force of the US Navy Pacific Fleet.
  • On May 6, 1947, the USS Becuna enters Mare Island Naval Shipyard, California, United States, for a scheduled overhaul.
  • On September 22, 1947, she completes her scheduled overhaul.
  • On April 1949, she is ordered to Submarine Force, Atlantic Fleet, as a unit of Submarine Squadron 8.
  • Between May 1949 and May 1950, she conducts refresher training exercises and also assisted in training of student officers and men at New London, Connecticut.
  • In November 1950, she returned to Electric Boat Co. for a complete modernization overhaul, being refitted as a GUPPY-type submarine, with sophisticated radar and torpedo equipment including nuclear warheads.
  • On August 1951, the submarine’s overhaul is completed and the Becuna sails to the Caribbean for post-modernization shakedown.
  • On September 1951, she returns to New London. Becunaoperates with the Atlantic Fleet trailing Soviet submarines with eavesdropping equipment aboard, making two cruises with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean and one to Scotland. Other than these extended cruises, the majority of Becuna‘s service was at New London as a training submarine.
  • In 1969, she is reclassified as an Auxiliary Submarine, AGSS-319.
  • On November 7, 1969, the Becunais decommissioned and laid up in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet.
  • In 1971, she reverts to SS-319
  • On August 15, 1973, she was struck from the Naval Register
  • On June 21, 1976, the Becuna was placed on permanent display adjacent to the cruiser USS Olympia (C-6) at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia.
  • On August 29, 1986, she was designated a National Historic Landmark for her service in World War II for which she received four battle stars.
  • On January 1, 1996, she becomes a museum ship at the Historic Ship Zone of the Independence Seaport Museum.
  • In 2001, Becuna receives the Historical Welded Structure Award of the American Welding Society.

Crew’s Mess

Crew’s Washroom

Main Galley

Here are some specifications of this ship:

  • Displacement: 1,500 long tons (1,500 t) surfaced, 2,080 long tons (2,110 t) submerged
  • Length: 95.02 m. (311 t., 9 in.)
  • Beam: 8.31 m. (27 ft., 3 in.)
  • Draft: 5.13 m. (16 ft., 10 in.) maximum
  • Propulsion: 4 × General MotorsModel 16-278A V16 diesel engines driving electrical generators, 2 × 126-cell Sargo batteries, 4 × high-speed General Electric electric motors with reduction gears, two propellers, 5,400 shp (4.0 MW) surfaced, 2,740 shp (2.0 MW) submerged.
  • Speed: 38 kms./hour (20.25 knots) surfaced, 16 kms./hour (8.75 knots) submerged
  • Range: 20,000 kms. (11,000 nautical miles) surfaced at 19 kms./hour (10 knots)
  • Endurance: 48 hours at 3.7 kms./hour (2 knots) submerged, 75 days on patrol
  • Test depth: 120 m. (400 ft.)
  • Complement: 8 commissioned officers, 5 chief petty officers, 67 enlisted men
  • Armament: 24 torpedoes, 10 × 533 mm. (21 in.) torpedo tubes (6 forward, 4 aft), 1 × 127 mm. (5 in.)/ 25 caliber deck gun, Bofors 40 mm. and Oerlikon 20 mm. cannon.

Yeoman’s Shack

Pump Room

Radio Room

Independence Seaport Museum: 211 S. Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106, U.S.A.  Tel: +1 215-413-8655. Website: www.phillyseaport.org.  Open daily, 10 AM – 5 PM. Closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day but open on New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day (January 15) and President’s Day (February 19). Admission: US$16 (adults), US$12 (seniors, 65 & over), US$12 (children, 3–12 years old), free for college students, military (active & retired) and children 2 years old & under. Seafarin’ Saturday and Citizen Science Lab programming are included with regular admission. Group visits are available at reduced rates for a minimum of ten people. Reservations must be made in advance.

Independence Seaport Museum – USS Olympia (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)

USS Olympia

After exploring the USS Becuna, Jandy and I now went out and boarded the USS Olympia (C-6/CA-15/CL-15/IX-40), a protected cruiser famous, during the Spanish–American War, as the flagship of Commodore George Dewey at the May 1, 1898 Battle of Manila Bay.  There was a semi-permanent exhibit opened last June 16, 2017, featuring the Olympia, entitled “World War I USS Olympia.” to commemorate the World War I centennial. The World War I USS Olympia exhibit highlights the Ship’s humanitarian and peace-keeping role in World War I Europe. The exhibit also explores the everyday life of sailors aboard the ship, as well as, the Olympia’s final mission of transporting the remains of the Unknown Soldier from France to Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, DC.

The author at the upper deck

Turret of two 8 in. (203 mm.) 35 cal. Mark 4 guns

The design of the interior of the USS Olympia was not that far off from the old sailing ships of the line, with an enormous amount of deeply polished wood at the sumptuous officer’s quarters (called the “Officers’ Country).  The beautifully paneled staterooms of the officers contrasts with the tiny hammocks of the enlisted men.

Beautifully paneled Officers Berth Deck (Officer’s Country)

Hammocks of the enlisted men

Before the USS Olympia retired in 1922, most of its original guns were removed in refits but, amazingly, one of the original guns survives today, a 6-pounder forward on the port side.The captain’s cabin also mounted a gun. 

Stateroom and cabin of Commodore George Dewey. At left can be seen the muzzle of a 5-inch gun

The Commodore’s bathroom

Voice pipes lead from the bridge to various stations, including the emergency steering – a triple-wheel made of wood, out on deck towards the stern.

Jandy manning the ship’s emergency steering

Ammunition hoists, sitting close by coal chutes and ash hoists, look like china cabinets. It’s an amazing step back into history.  All throughout, great signs describe life on the ship and its history. We weren’t able to see the engine room (to see the big old steam engines, the giant crankshaft and connecting rods and the cramped boiler room) as it’s only included in the highly recommended “Behind the Scenes” tour which the we were too late for.

Officer’s Quarters

Junior Officers’ Mess

Here are some interesting trivia regarding this ship:

  • She saw service in the United States Navy from her commissioning in 1895 until 1922.
  • She was twice decommissioned and recommissioned.
  • For several months after her commissioning, she was the largest ship ever built on the western coast of the US, until surpassed by the battleship Oregon.
  • Admiral George Dewey and Olympia became famous as the first victors of the Spanish-American War.
  • She is the sole floating survivor of the US Navy’s Spanish–American War fleet.
  • Olympiais the oldest steel US warship still afloat in the world.
  • She is the sole survivor of the U.S naval shipbuilding program from the 1880s and 1890s and the only surviving pre-dreadnaught protected cruiser in the world.
  • It is one of only four warships representative of the time period that exist worldwide.

Officers Dining Room

Here is the timeline of the ship’s history:

  • In 1889, the newly formed Board on the Design of Ships began the design process for Cruiser Number 6
  • On April 8, 1890, the navy solicited bids but found only one bidder, the Union Iron Worksin San Francisco, California.
  • On July 10, 1890, the contract was signed
  • On June 17, 1891, the ship’s keel was laid
  • On November 5, 1892, the ship was launched.
  • On November 3, 1893, Union Iron Works conducted the first round of trials.
  • On December 1893, she was dispatched from San Francisco to Santa Barbara
  • On December 15, 1893, Olympia sailed into the Santa Barbara Channel and began an official four-hour speed trial time.
  • On February 5, 1895, the new cruiser was ultimately commissioned.
  • Upon commissioning, Olympia departed the Union Iron Works yard in San Francisco and steamed inland to the U.S. Navy’s Mare Island Naval Shipyard at Vallejo, where outfitting was completed and Captain John J. Read was placed in command.
  • In April 1895, the ship steamed south, to Santa Barbara, to participate in a festival. That same month, the ship’s crew also conducted landing drills in Sausalito and Santa Cruz.
  • On April 20, 1895, the ship conducted its first gunnery practice, during which one of the ship’s gunners, Coxswain John Johnson, was killed in an accident with one of the 5-inch guns
  • On July 27, 1895, the ship starts its last shakedown cruise
  • On August 25, 1895, the ship departed the United States for Chinese waters.
  • A week later, the ship arrived in Hawaii, where she remained until October 23 due to an outbreak of cholera. The ship then sailed for Yokohama, Japan
  • On November 9, 1895, the ship arrives in Yokohama.
  • On November 15, 1895, the Baltimore arrives in Yokohama, from Shanghai, China, to transfer command of the Asiatic Squadron to Olympia.  She was designated as the flagship.
  • On December 18, 1895, Rear Admiral F.V. McNair arrives to take command of the squadron.
  • The following two years, the ship joined training exercises with the other members of the Asiatic Squadron as well as goodwill visits to various ports in Asia, notably Hongkong and Kobe and Nagasaki in Japan.
  • On January 3, 1898, Commodore George Dewey raised his flag on Olympia and assumed command of the squadron.
  • On April 25, 1898, the Spanish-American War began and Dewey moved his ships to Mirs Bay, China.
  • On April 27, 1898, the Navy Department ordered the Squadron to Manila in the Philippines, where a significant Spanish naval force protected the harbor. Dewey was ordered to sink or capture the Spanish warships, opening the way for a subsequent conquest by US forces.
  • On the morning of May 1, 1898, Commodore Dewey, with his flag aboard Olympia, steamed his ships into Manila Bay to confront the Spanish flotilla commanded by Rear Admiral Patricio Montojo y Pasarón.  At approximately 05:40, Dewey instructed Olympia‘s captain, “You may fire when you are ready, Gridley.” Newly assigned Capt. Charles Vernon Gridley ordered the forward 8-inch gun turret, commanded by Gunners Mate Adolph Nilsson, to open fire, which opened the battle and prompted the other American warships to begin firing. By early afternoon, Dewey had completed the destruction of Montojo’s squadron and the shore batteries, while his own ships were largely undamaged. Dewey anchored his ships off Manila and accepted the surrender of the city. Olympia remained in the area and supported the American expeditionary force by shelling Spanish forces on land.
  • On May 20, 1898, the ship returned to the Chinese coast, remaining there until the following month, when she departed for the US, via the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea.
  • On October 10, 1898, the ship arrived in Boston. Following Olympia‘s return to the US, her officers and crew were feted and she was herself repainted and adorned with a gilded bow ornament.
  • On November 9, 1898, Olympia was decommissioned and placed in reserve.
  • On January 2, 1902, the Olympia was recommissioned into the fleet and assigned to the North Atlantic Squadron. Her first duty was to serve as the flagship of the Caribbean Division.
  • Over the following four years, the ship patrolled the Atlantic and Mediterranean, her voyages including a visit to Turkey.
  • In March through April 1903, she and four other U.S. Navy warships were involved in an intervention in Honduras.
  • Starting on April 2, 1906, she became a training ship for midshipmen from the United States Naval Academy. In this role, she conducted three summer training cruises – May 15 – August 26, 1907, June 1 – September 1, 1908 and May 14 – August 28, 1909. Between the cruises, the ship was placed in reserve, first in Norfolk, Virginia and later at Annapolis, Maryland.
  • On March 6, 1912, Olympia arrived in Charleston, South Carolina, serving as a barracks ship until 1916.
  • In late 1916, when it became increasingly clear that the US would eventually enter World War I, the ship was recommissioned into the fleet.
  • After the U.S. entered the First World War by declaring war on Germany in April 1917, Olympia was mobilized as the flagship of the U.S. Patrol Force. She was tasked with patrolling the eastern seaboard of the US for German warships. She also escorted transport ships in the North Atlantic.
  • On June 15, 1917, she ran aground in Long Island Sound, and put in for repairs at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which, along with the replacement of her 8-inch and 5″/40-caliber guns with 5″/51-caliber guns, took eight months.
  • On April 28, 1918, Olympiadeparted Charleston, carrying an expeditionary force bound for Russia which had previously been a member of the Allied Powers but was in the midst of civil war and had signed a separate peace with Germany.
  • On June 9, 1918, Olympia arrived in Murmansk, Russia, and deployed the peace-keeping force. She subsequently assisted in the occupation of Archangel.
  • After World War I, participated in the 1919 Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War and conducted cruises in the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas to promote peace in the unstable Balkan countries.
  • After the end of the war, Olympia sailed to the Mediterranean via Portsmouth, England.
  • On December 1918, the ship became the flagship for American naval forces stationed in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. While on this assignment, she continued in her old role of showing the flag and conducting goodwill visits in various Mediterranean ports. This included a period of policing duty in the Adriatic Sea from January 21 to October 25, 1919 (the Dalmatian coast was in a state of turmoil following the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the end of the war).
  • On August 18, 1918, she steamed to the Black Sea to aid the return of refugees from the Balkans who had fled during the war.
  • By September 19, 1918, she was back in the Adriatic and four days later had to deploy a landing party to prevent an incident between Italian and Yugoslav forces.
  • On November 24, 1919, Olympia briefly returned to Charleston.
  • In 1920, she was reclassified as CA-15.
  • On February 14, 1920, she departed New York for another tour of duty in the Adriatic,
  • On May 25, 1921, the ship returned to Charleston.
  • On June 1921, she was made the flagship of the Atlantic Fleet’s training unit.
  • In July, 1921, she then participated in joint Army-Navy experiments, during which the ex-German warships Ostfriesland and Frankfurt were sunk off the Virginia Capes. She was again reclassified as CL-15 that year.
  • On October 3, 1921, Olympia departed Philadelphia for Le Havre, France, to bring the remains of the Unknown Soldier home for interment in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C..
  • On October 25, 1921, the cruiser departed France, escorted by a group of French destroyers for part of the voyage.
  • On November 9, 1921, at the mouth of the Potomac River, the battleship North Dakotaand the destroyer Bernadou joined Olympia as she sailed to the Washington Navy Yard. After transferring the remains ashore, the cruiser fired her guns in salute.
  • In the summer of 1922, she conducted a last training cruise for midshipmen.
  • On December 9, 1922, she was decommissioned for the last time in Philadelphia and placed in reserve.
  • On June 30, 1931, the ship was reclassified IX-40 to be preserved as a relic.
  • On September 11, 1957, she was released to the Cruiser Olympia Association, restored to her 1898 configuration and became a museum ship under their auspices. The main 8-inch guns and turrets, scrapped before World War I, were replaced with sheet metal fabrications.
  • In 1966, Olympia was designated a National Historic Landmark.
  • In January 1996, when faced with mounting debt and tremendous deferred maintenance, the Cruiser Olympia Society merged with the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia. 

Battle Memorial

Today, Olympia is a museum ship at the Independence Seaport Museum in Penn’s Landing in PhiladelphiaNaval Reserve Officer Training Corps Midshipmen from Villanova University and the University of Pennsylvania regularly work on Olympia, functioning as maintenance crew. Olympia’s stern plate and bow ornaments are on display at Dahlgren Hall at the United States Naval Academy.

National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark plaque

National Historic Maritime Landmark plaque

Here are some specifications of this ship:

5 inch gun

Driggs-Schroeder 6-pounder gun

Independence Seaport Museum: 211 S. Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106, U.S.A.  Tel: +1 215-413-8655. Website: www.phillyseaport.org.  Open daily, 10 AM – 5 PM. Closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day but open on New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day (January 15) and President’s Day (February 19). Admission: US$16 (adults), US$12 (seniors, 65 & over), US$12 (children, 3–12 years old), free for college students, military (active & retired) and children 2 years old & under. Seafarin’ Saturday and Citizen Science Lab programming are included with regular admission. Group visits are available at reduced rates for a minimum of ten people. Reservations must be made in advance. Visitors can also walk aboard, tour, and watch historical reenactments conducted by the Cruiser Olympia Living History Crew.

Visit of the MV Logos Hope (Cebu City, Cebu)

From Fort San Pedro, Grace, Jandy, Cheska and I walked over to the Malacañang sa Sugbo berth in Pier 1 where the MV Logos Hope, the world’s largest floating library, was docked.  This world-traveling vessel, operated by the non-profit German Christian charitable organization GBA Ships e.V (Gute Bücher für Alle, English: Good Books for All) and captained by Tom Dyer, arrived in Cebu City last April 28 and was to remain there until May 29.

MV Logos Hope

Here, we checked out its library, occupying one air-conditioned deck of the ship.  It carries some 500,000 educational and Christian books of different titles, covering a range of subjects including fiction, economics, science, sports, hobbies, cookery, arts, medicine, languages, general reference and philosophy, for sale “at a fraction” of the books’ retail price.  Price ranged from PhP100-200 for the cheaper books, while the more expensive ones cost around PhP400-1,000.

The newly created Logos Hope Experience, situated on a deck that was installed into the original ferry’s car area, holds up to 800 visitors at any time, with capacity to host an additional 500 in the Hope Theatre and Logos Lounge. This publicly accessible deck offers visitors an introduction to the vessel and the organization. There’s also the “Journey of Life,” a visual presentation which is based on the story of the “Prodigal Son,” and the International Cafe.

The vessel’s 400 all volunteer (they live on board for two years) crew and staff, headed by Managing Director Seelan Govender, come from 45 countries, many of them humanitarian activists and people interested in social service who took part in the journey to sell books as well as to perform charity activities. Knowledge, Hope and Help is the aim of the vessel and wherever the ship goes, the needy and the destitute get sighs of happiness and hope. The revenue from the book fair is used for building orphanages, providing computer training, for awareness and educational programs for people with HIV, offering free health checkups and for donating to charity funds.

The fourth ship in the Logos line up, after the MV Logos (its wrecked hulk now sits on a rock shelf on the Chilean coast), the MV Logos II (retired in the fall of 2008) and the MV Doulos (sold in 2009 to a company in Singapore) and twice bigger than its predecessors, it is better than other ships operated by the organization when it comes to providing comfort, convenience and a quality cruise to visitors, guests as well as the crew of the ship. The MV Logos Hope was built in 1973 as the ferry MV Gustav Vasa for car ferry service between Malmö (Sweden) and Travemünde (Germany), a route she ran for 10 years.  In April 1983, she was sold to Smyril Line, a Faroese ferry company, and renamed MV Norröna, providing a ferry service to the Faroe Islands. Each summer, she sailed from Tórshavn, the Faroese capital, to Lerwick (Shetland Islands), Bergen (Norway), Hanstholm (Denmark) and Seyðisfjörður (Iceland).

In winter, she was often chartered to cover other operators’ overhaul schedules. When Smyril Line delivered a new Norröna in 2003, the old vessel became MV Norröna I and was put up for sale. In March 2004, after much deliberation, inspection and prayer, GBA purchased the vessel.

Completely refitted over a period of 5 years, it was launched into active service in February 2009 and has visited more than 150 countries in Northern Europe, the Caribbean, West Africa, the Mediterranean, the Arabian Peninsula, and most recently south Asia, docking in a port for approximately 2 weeks.  A total of 44 million book lovers have checked out its store. It last visited the Philippines in 2013.

MV Logos Hope: open from Tuesdays to Saturdays, 10 AM to 9:30PM, and Sundays, 1 to 9:30 PM.  Admission:  PhP20 per person. Children under 13 years old and senior citizens may enter for free.