Another Old Ship? Not With Our Tax Dollars!

GROUP WANTS TO RELOCATE BATTLESHIP IN PORT ROYAL, S.C. A group of Lowcountry residents are trying to raise the money needed to bring a nineteenth century battleship from Philadelphia to Port Royal, S.C. – although it remains to be seen whether they will be able to pull off the project…


A group of Lowcountry residents are trying to raise the money needed to bring a nineteenth century battleship from Philadelphia to Port Royal, S.C. – although it remains to be seen whether they will be able to pull off the project without relying on millions of dollars from Palmetto State taxpayers.

The group wants to turn the ship – the U.S.S. Olympia – into a tourist attraction, but they aren’t saying how much of the estimated $10 million price tag they have raised for that purpose.  In fact according to The Island Packet they are already working on the project with the town of Port Royal, S.C. as well as the S.C. State Ports Authority (SCSPA) – which we view as evidence of the extent to which government support is likely to play a role in this process.

Look, we’re all for old ships … we love history (especially naval history) and can’t get enough of tourist attractions.  And if this group of investors can independently raise enough money to pull off this project, then we will be the first to praise and promote their venture.   However, as we’ve said on numerous previous occasions, we don’t see the preservation of old U.S. naval vessels as a core function of government (a view that applies to Confederate submarines as well, incidentally).

In other words, our enthusiastic support for a project like this stops the second one red cent of tax money is expended on its behalf …

South Carolina taxpayers recently shelled out $9.2 million to a money-losing, quasi-government entity for the purpose of restoring a Korean War destroyer, the U.S.S. Laffey.  Meanwhile this same quasi-government entity is on the hook for an estimated $100 million in repair work on a World War II carrier, the U.S.S. Yorktown.

Those are bills taxpayers should never be asked to pay …


Related posts


Charleston Legal Drama Erupts

Will Folks

How Pastor John-Paul Miller’s ‘Memorial Service’ For His Dead Wife Went Viral

Jenn Wood

Missing Macaque Shot And Killed

Will Folks


rickie November 29, 2012 at 3:40 pm

The USS New Jersey park is right accross the river from the Olympia.

SparkleCity November 29, 2012 at 5:13 pm


It is the last ship of its type (sister ship to the Maine – if I’m not mistaken).

I have become interested in the Spainish-American War era after reading the book and watching the movie “The Road to Wellville”(partly made in Wilmington) of all things

So in cases like this I think federal money should help (with private donations of course).

The Hunley is of no-shit historical significance and needs to be considered a national object of major historical significance.

Damned if I would want to see the ‘Memphis Belle” with a “sponsored by McDonalds” banner hanging below the cockpit!!!

Let’s let McDonald’s or Budweiser go ahead and sponsor the Arizona memorial or Arlington national Cemetary while we’re at it

The Colonel November 29, 2012 at 11:19 pm

I’m a military historian who likes nothing better than spending a few hours clambering over a warship or a battlefield but this is a bad idea

The Olympia is a one off with no sister ships. She needs a minimum of $30,000,000 worth of work to be moved and displayed. She was Dewey’s flagship at the Battle of Manila Bay. Her last claim to fame was bringing the “unknown soldier” home from WWI after having served as the flagship for US Naval forces during the war. Her only SC link is that she served as a decommissioned barracks ship in Charleston from 1912-1916.

She’d be better off being made into a reef.

gotcha goober November 30, 2012 at 7:26 am

“The Colonel” is a fool.

SparkleCity November 30, 2012 at 9:45 am

Last one left means just that.

It would be a travisty to sink the only warship of the Spainish-American War (so shamelessly hawked by Herst & other jingoists -& made that bullshit cooked up by the Bush II administration look small time).

I’m for keeping her afloat or drydocked like the destroyer beside the USS Constitution – which Iguess with FITS &
Colonel’s logic should be sunk as a reef also.

Ishmael November 29, 2012 at 5:25 pm

” Haul on that bowline – we sang that melody
Like all tough sailors do – when we’re far away at sea”

Peter O November 29, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Well, I wish them luck! It appears to be a private group trying to fundraise for this project.

At first I thought Beaufort was a terrible spot for this, but then I realized all the potential visitors who descend on the area during Parris Island Marine graduations. I’m sure many of them would be interested in something like this. It would be awesome if this works out.

The Colonel November 30, 2012 at 12:21 am

It seems like it might be a good mix with Paris Island but the Marine Corps has already firmly rejected a “co – sponsorship ” as being unworkable.

As for families going to Paris Island, most families show up, spend as much time with Joe or Molly as possible, go to graduation and then get on the road. Even in Philadelphia the ship has only drawn 80,000 visitors a year and that’s with the Independence Seaport Museum as a draw. The Spanish American War lacks the sexieness of WWII and compared to the USS North Carolina the Olympia pales in comparison. “The Showboat has more than a 250,000 visitors each year and still scrapes and begs for money. They plan to use her berth as a drydock to begin major hull work this year tonsave the cost of towing her to Norfolk or Charleston for repairs.

SparkleCity November 29, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Seriously,if it goes anywhere, it should go to Portland,Oregan if it they can tow her up the river that far.

SparkleCity November 29, 2012 at 5:50 pm

Damnit I ment Seattle or Bremmerton, Washington.

Sorry for the geographical error!!!!!

MY bad!!!!!

? November 29, 2012 at 5:59 pm

Don’t worry about restoring the good ole USS of A (or SC)….screw the obligations, save the war relics! It’ll give someplace for the old timers who aren’t getting infation adjusted payments in their SS to go to when they get depressed.

Let’s rename the USSA to the USS Titanic and not worry about salvaging her fiscal rudder.

There are more important things afoot, like taking Philadelphia’s floating garbage off their hands with some Federal printed up dollars and some of SC’s few remaining taxpayers money too, in the hope of making another war glorifying family fun park.


Nagurski November 29, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Let’s trade Joe Wilson for the ship. Wait. . .they alrady traded Joe Wilson away. Lexington, Richland and Aiken now have his sorry ass all to themselves. Shit. . .

Booyah November 29, 2012 at 8:33 pm

SC is a shit location for naval history exhibits because it is poor. Yorktown is simply too complex for preservation afloat, and too large for dragging ashore as can be done with much smaller vessels like submarines.

Android November 30, 2012 at 2:03 am

Screw history. Who gives a shit about what happened yesterday. If we make a museum out of this relic some Spanish or Filipino group will say it “pains” them to look at it and we damn sure don’t want to offend anybody. If you want History just watch the History Channel.

Down in the low country, Beaufort already has the Kazoo Musical Museum. ( I ain’t kidding folks) The kazoo ai’nt never hurt anyone. The sound of freedom shouldn’t be from jets, guns, or battleships it should be coming from kazoos, accordions, and ukuleles.

Someone told me Old Bike Dude is a greeter and ticket tearer at the Kazoo Museum on the weekends. I got to get down there and meet him.

SparkleCity November 30, 2012 at 10:01 am

“If you want history, just watch the History Channel”

That was true about 5 years ago but now days the “History Channel” ain’t worth a shit.

“History 2” (f you can get it – channel 271 on DirecTV) is OK as is the Military Channel (DirecTV ch. 287) but it ain’t as good as the old “History Channel”

Just like everything else, a bunch of “suits” decided to go for the lowest common denominator and went cheap because “Pawn Stars” or “Ice Road Truckers” is cheaper to produce and dumbasses want to watch it (neither of which have nothing to do with history – unless someone says Bubba trying to pawn off a clone of a musket is history which is pure bullshit).

Fucking beancounters.

Sailor November 30, 2012 at 10:24 am

Sparkle City re History Channel, Right on! They should re-name it Shit Channel!

Judy Chop November 30, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Speaking of Ice Road Truckers. Next weekend, in Columbia, is the monthly Gun and Knife Show. 12/08 – 12/09. Pork Chop from Ice Road Truckers is gonna be there. He’s from Lugoff Elgin area. Come on down and pay us a visit, Sparkle City.

gotcha goober November 30, 2012 at 7:29 am

Long live the USSA!

… where’s my check?

The Colonel November 30, 2012 at 7:47 am

And I’m a fool?

Observant November 30, 2012 at 4:15 pm

I don’t know why she is called a battleship in the article… she’s not. The Olympia (C-6, later C-15)was a “heavy cruiser” (a “protected” cruiser, albeit) and properly named after a State Capital (prior to the changes in warship nomenclature made after WW2). She is 344 feet long and displaces an average of only 6000 tons +/-. The “Battleships” of the era [like the South Carolina (BB26)] were named after the states. The South Carolina (built 1908) and the Olympia (built 1888) were contemporaries and both saw service in WW1. The battleship South Carolina was 453 feet long, and displaced 16000 tons – a little more than 2 1/2 times heavier than the Olympia. The South Carolina’s main armament was 8 12-inch guns, and that of the Olympia, only 4 8-inch guns (which were later replaced by longer barrelled, but smaller caliber 5-inchers.

A considerable difference in size and armament.

Observant November 30, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Second observation – both had the same shaped prow — later abandoned with the “modern design” battleship and cruisers. GRANTED: the Olympia really is the last of the 19th century warships, and should be preserved for posterity — Mare Island apparently has the real answer – drag her out of the water and make her a land display. I am no engineer, but I think “we” (SC) might consider trying to get her down here (with flotation devices if necessary, rather than spending $10 million plus to ‘patch’ her)and tie her up to a dock like the Queen Mary I in Long Beach, and fill a caisson with concrete to make sure she will never sink. Maybe we also ought to consider this for the Laffey and the Yorktown, as we have a wonderful cement plant at Holly Hill — only about an hour from Charleston and an hour and a half from Beaufort (and the railroads go to both places to haul the bulk cement).

Just me December 1, 2012 at 11:58 am

Just what south carolina needs. another old leaky war ship it cannot aford to maintain. #crazy


Leave a Comment