Today, the protected cruiser Olympia (C-6) wallows off the Philadelphia waterfront, ready to sink. The Independence Seaport Museum, steward of this century-old vessel, a National Historic Landmark since 1964, is trying to recover from years of mismanagement and corruption. But reforms may have come too late.
Launched from San Francisco in 1892, the Olympia is one of the world's last examples of late-19th-century warship construction. A technological marvel in her heyday, the ship's vertical reciprocating steam engines earned her a spot on the list of National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmarks in 1977.