The USS Olympia

For many years I have driven by the USS Olympia, both by car and boat through the Delaware River. I was really happy to take this tour and it was not at all what I expected to see. I was really impressed with the cabin space of the ship. The crew member quarters and captains cabin were rather elegant in their own way. Almost everything inside the ship was covered in a wooden finish and it made it seem like you were walking through an old fashioned country-side hotel.

Different sections of the ship were labeled with their own unique name. For example, the most appealing area was known as “Officer’s Country”. This is where you would find the staterooms of each officer (their living quarters). There were 16 staterooms in Officer’s Country! In the middle of the Ward Room, there was a massive rectangular, wooden table where I am assuming the Senior Officers gathered to discuss their war strategies and eat food. If you looked up above the table, there was actually a skylight built into the ceiling of the ship’s hull. Walking into the engine room was quite loud, but it you could definitely get a good idea of how massive the ship actually is (the engine room was 3 stories tall).

Going into the crew member’s quarters you immediately noticed how small of a space they really had. It was a huge room, but the amount of space they were given was limited to a single hammock-style cot. This room was where they ate, slept, and worked for most of their days on the ship. They actually had tables that lowered down from the ceiling so that they could eat breakfast, lunch and dinner on them. When it was time to sleep they would raise the tables back up and lower down their hammocks for the night.

They also had their very own dentist, barber shop, and ship’s store located in the middle of the boat. This vessel was so big that if I didn’t have a guide I would surely get lost trying to find my way out. Overall, this was such a great experience and I am kind of kicking myself in the butt for not going earlier. It’s so awesome that such an old piece of history is still floating, very much alive and part of Philadelphia.

Visit to Macy’s (Wanamaker’s) Department Store

I know that it has been quite some time, but then again, this is a history class. Back in 2004 when I was 9, I went to Philly with my family to see the Macy’s Christmas light show. It was very interesting. Being the angsty kid I was, I really did not want to be there. Regardless of my initial thoughts, this experience was great. Especially now that I know the history of the Wanamaker family, it is super interesting to see how this department store alone has progressed over the years. This building itself is very old, not like many of the other buildings that surround the area which have been torn down and since been replaced with “better” architectural strength. I am not that old even though I am the oldest in this classroom, I do believe that my elders do see more importance within this building. It resembles the blue-collar workforce of America that has been so true to us, and has established our Industrial Revolution.

I really would love to go back to the Macy’s Department Store, but truly, I cannot have the same nostalgic feeling that I would get if it weren’t in the height of the winter season of December. I am sure that many of my elders can hold up this argument as well. Macy’s Department Store is still standing, and their Christmas Light Show has been there since 1956. I think that it would be just great to keep something so held dear to our hearts and give that same feeling to our children as well. For anyone that has not made the trip to the Macy’s Department Store, please go there, you will see how much the little things matter in your life. And not to mention, how much of an impact your ancestors have had on you and your children’s life.