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.