Originally published 07/08/2013
PHILADELPHIA — Caretakers of a deteriorating piece of maritime military history hope to have its future secured by next summer and continue working to ensure it stays afloat in the meantime.The USS Olympia, a one-of-a-kind steel cruiser from the Spanish-American War, ideally would have been dry-docked every 20 years for maintenance but has not been out of the water since 1945. Since taking stewardship of the National Historic Landmark from a cash-strapped nonprofit in 1996, the Independence Seaport Museum has spent about $5 million on short-term repairs, inspections and maintenance but cannot afford to keep the ship.A field of six organizations initially vying for the Olympia has been narrowed to two preservation groups — one in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the 5,500-ton warship was launched in 1892, and one in Port Royal, S.C., a strategic support post for the Atlantic fleet during the Spanish-American War....
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