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Thread: Horrible Historical losses of the recent past. Or Bureaucratic Blunders.

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    Elen síla lumenn' omentielvo What Exit?'s avatar
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    Default Horrible Historical losses of the recent past. Or Bureaucratic Blunders.

    These are open to debate so thus my choice of forums.

    I will start with two big ones to me. The Big E CV-6 & The Original Penn Station.


    The most decorated ship in US history was CV-6 The USS Enterprise, The Big E. She was the only bastion vs. the Japanese at one point during WWII. The last working carrier in the Pacific. She was in 18 of the 20 major battles of the Pacific War and I believe the Japanese celebrated sinking her 7 times but she always came back to their consternation. They had publicly announced her sinking 3 times as confirmed BTW.

    If any units or ships could be credited with winning the Pacific War it was probably the Enterprise and the Yorktown. The Yorktown of course sank at Midway. The Big 'E' was listed as unable to maintain in Mothballs and the government made a deal with the group trying to preserve her to end there effort. The deal was somewhat fair in the first Nuke Carrier CVN-65 was named the Enterprise.

    What the Government did sold it for scrap.
    The above is pretty much from memory so I apologize for any little mistakes.
    the "Big E" was sold on 1 July 1958 to the Lipsett Corporation of New York City for scrapping at Kearny, New Jersey. A promise was made to save the distinctive tripod mast for inclusion in the Naval Academy's new football stadium, but was never fulfilled; instead, a memorial plaque was installed at the base of what is still called "Enterprise Tower." Scrapping was complete as of May 1960.

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    like Gandalf in a way Nrblex's avatar
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    I suck at dredging facts up about history, even if they're fairly recent so I don't think I'll have much to add to this thread.

    Is it common for ships of historical significance to be preserved?

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    Elen síla lumenn' omentielvo What Exit?'s avatar
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    The original Penn Station was a magnificent building and gateway to NYC for millions.
    The original structure was made of pink granite and was marked by an imposing, sober colonnade of Doric columns. The colonnades embodied the sophisticated integration of multiple functions and circulation of people and goods.
    Others words are better than mine:
    The demolition of the original structure — although considered by some to be justified as progressive at a time of declining rail passenger service — created international outrage.[12] As dismantling of the grand old structure began, The New York Times editorially lamented:

    Until the first blow fell, no one was convinced that Penn Station really would be demolished, or that New York would permit this monumental act of vandalism against one of the largest and finest landmarks of its age of Roman elegance.[15]

    Its destruction left a deep and lasting wound in the architectural consciousness of the city. A famous photograph of a smashed caryatid in the landfill of the New Jersey Meadowlands struck a guilty chord. Pennsylvania Station's demolition is considered to have been the catalyst for the enactment of the city's first architectural preservation statutes.






    In the end this building as function and art was replaced by the drab and horrible Madison Square Garden.

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    Elen síla lumenn' omentielvo What Exit?'s avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Nrblex View post
    I suck at dredging facts up about history, even if they're fairly recent so I don't think I'll have much to add to this thread.

    Is it common for ships of historical significance to be preserved?
    Common? Yes and no. Many have become museums. The USS Constellation in Baltimore, The USS Intrepid (WWII Carrier) in NYC, The USS New Jersey (Battle Ship WWII through the 90s) in Camden NJ, the USS Texas (WWI & WWII Battleship) new Houston and many others. The Big 'E' clearly deserved a better fate and indeed was scheduled for preservation at one point in NYC. Years (decades later) NYC got the Intrepid instead. As I said, The Big 'E' in many ways was the most glorious ship in US History. It deserved far better than scrap.

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    like Gandalf in a way Nrblex's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by What Exit? View post


    In the end this building as function and art was replaced by the drab and horrible Madison Square Garden.
    Gah, what a difference. And considering how striking pink granite is, it must have looked even more amazing in color.

    This is why we can't have nice thngs.

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    Oliphaunt The Original An Gadaí's avatar
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    If it were done deliberately it is doubly terribly, but even accidentally the destruction of much of the National Archives of Ireland is one of the worst historical losses in Irish history.

    On 14 April 1922 they were occupied by Republican forces led by Rory O'Connor who opposed the Anglo-Irish Treaty. After several months of a stand-off, the new Provisional Government attacked the building to dislodge the rebels, on the advice of the Commander-in-Chief of the Irish Army, Michael Collins. This provoked a week of fighting in Dublin. In the process of the bombardment the historic building was destroyed. Most dramatically however, when the anti-Treaty contingent were surrendering, the west wing of the building was obliterated in a huge explosion, destroying the Irish Public Record Office which was located at the rear of the building. It has been alleged that the Republicans deliberately booby-trapped its priceless Irish archives, which were stored in the basement of the Four Courts. Nearly one thousand years of irreplaceable archives were destroyed by this act. However, the insurgents, who included future Irish Taoiseach Seán Lemass denied this accusation and argued that while they had used the archive as a store of their ammunition, they had not deliberately mined it. They suggest that that the explosion was caused by the accidental detonation of their ammunition store during the fighting.

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    Curmudgeon OtakuLoki's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Nrblex View post
    I suck at dredging facts up about history, even if they're fairly recent so I don't think I'll have much to add to this thread.

    Is it common for ships of historical significance to be preserved?
    A lot of it depends upon when that question is asked.

    For example, USS Hartford Admiral David Farragut's flagship during the Mobile campaign was kept, but not preserved, so that it was allowed to sink at berth in the 1950s and found impossible to save. AIUI there are no surviving examples of the type of ship she was: a steam sloop of war. For that matter, USS Constitution survived by accident, and by having gone through almost a century of neglect and use for the some of the most humiliating things: At one point she was refitted as a floating barracks.

    After WWII a lot of ships were simply broken up, without much thought to their historical value. Jim mentioned that USS Texas BB-35 was saved, but the commission originally set up to preserve her couldn't afford it, and she really degraded for a while. She's since been transferred to the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife, and was dry docked and thoroughly refurbished.

    Prior to 1960, in general, if a ship was deemed surplus to the Navy's needs even for the reserve fleet, it would be sent to the breakers. Or expended as a target.

    Of the cruisers that partook in WWI, there is, I believe, one in the whole world still around: HMS Caroline, which is also the only surviving participant of the Battle of Jutland. Texas is the only example of WWI-era battleships still around.

    It's a shame that the Turkish battleship Yavuz was scrapped in 1973: Originally she'd been the German battlecruiser SMS Goeben. The hunt for her in the beginning days of WWI was part of what brought Turkey in on the side of the Central Powers. She was given to the Turks then, and served through the rest of the war: particularly in support of operations in the Dardanelles, and against the Russian Black Sea fleet. As such she was the only example of the Imperial German Navy's modern ships that survived the scuttling at Scapa Flow. Unfortunately plans to transfer her back to West Germany as a museum ship after the Turkish Navy decommissioned her fell through, and she was scrapped, too.

    In the US, after about 1960 things started to change.

    These days, when a vessel is struck from the Navy's rolls it seems there's always at least discussion of whether it can be preserved as a museum ship. I'm not about to suggest it always happens, but it's at least often considered.

    Of the battleships that were still in the US reserve fleet at that time, all have been preserved. All but Iowa, I believe, have been granted permanent homes as museum ships, and there is still a process going on there, to try to find a home for her.

    There are far fewer of the cruisers (light and heavy) that have been saved. Off the top of my head, the only two I can think of are USS Little Rock in Buffalo, and USS Salem in Quincy.

    There were several efforts to save other ships, but the old saw about a ship being a hole in the water into which you pour money has more than a little truth to it. Museum ships are expensive. Like the desire of the Enterprise association to save her, many other ships were attempted to be saved, only to founder on fundraising. (I knew a USS Albany CG-10 sailor who still bitterly resented the fact that NY couldn't raise enough money to save one of the "Tall Ladies.")

    Destroyers, destroyer escorts, and submarines are relatively common.

    There is even one of the Pegasus-class hydrofoils in the process of trying to be saved as a museum ship. And while I think the PHMs were neat ships, I can't help but feel they are little more than a historical oddity.

    If I had an unlimited budget, and could choose, I'd probably want to save all the old warships. Or at least see them converted to artificial reefs like USS Oriskany. There are reasons you don't want me to make government budgets unaided.

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    Elen síla lumenn' omentielvo What Exit?'s avatar
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    I served on the Ranger and she is retired now and up for possible Museum duty and I don't really see the reason for it. But if it happens it might be cool to visit her for me.

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    Curmudgeon OtakuLoki's avatar
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    At least your ship could be considered. There's only one nuclear powered museum ship, USS Nautilus, and she's still got active duty crew on her to keep track of her zoomies.

  10. #10
    like Gandalf in a way Nrblex's avatar
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    Cool. Thanks for the info on preservng ships.

    Quote Originally posted by The Original An Gadaí View post
    If it were done deliberately it is doubly terribly, but even accidentally the destruction of much of the National Archives of Ireland is one of the worst historical losses in Irish history.

    On 14 April 1922 they were occupied by Republican forces led by Rory O'Connor who opposed the Anglo-Irish Treaty. After several months of a stand-off, the new Provisional Government attacked the building to dislodge the rebels, on the advice of the Commander-in-Chief of the Irish Army, Michael Collins. This provoked a week of fighting in Dublin. In the process of the bombardment the historic building was destroyed. Most dramatically however, when the anti-Treaty contingent were surrendering, the west wing of the building was obliterated in a huge explosion, destroying the Irish Public Record Office which was located at the rear of the building. It has been alleged that the Republicans deliberately booby-trapped its priceless Irish archives, which were stored in the basement of the Four Courts. Nearly one thousand years of irreplaceable archives were destroyed by this act. However, the insurgents, who included future Irish Taoiseach Seán Lemass denied this accusation and argued that while they had used the archive as a store of their ammunition, they had not deliberately mined it. They suggest that that the explosion was caused by the accidental detonation of their ammunition store during the fighting.
    Oh geez. That is just nightmarish. It reminds me of a smaller scale version of the burning of the library in Alexandra.

  11. #11
    Oliphaunt
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    Quote Originally posted by Nrblex View post
    ... It reminds me of a smaller scale version of the burning of the library in Alexandra.
    Which is the first thing that came to mind for me.

    More recently, the general razing of Mesopotamian history at the National Museum of Iraq still makes me sad.

    This is not what a museum should look like:


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    Administrator CatInASuit's avatar
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    2 British government Bureaucratic blunders for the Millenium. They were given two choices to spend their money on, a ferris wheel on the thames or a large arena in Greenwich. They opted for the arena.

    The ferris wheel was then picked up by some business organisations and became the London Eye, which is a fabulous experience for anyone visiting london.

    The arena became the Millenium Dome, which I am not displaying because it was a complete disaster in terms of people and finance. Strangely enough, once it was bought out and refurbished, it was renamed the O2 arena and now is one of the best in Britain, if not Europe.
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.

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    A Dude Peeta Mellark's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Orual View post
    More recently, the general razing of Mesopotamian history at the National Museum of Iraq still makes me sad.
    Oh yeah. That picture just twists my stomach up in knots. There have been a lot of losses of great historical value thanks to war.

    Speaking of the Middle East, in Israel there's been a lot of damage done to historical sites on the Temple Mount in recent years. There are accusations that the Waqf, the Islamic trust that controls the region, have accidentally destroyed numerous antiquities and what was believed to have been part of the temple wall.

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    Administrator CatInASuit's avatar
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    Another loss were the Buddhas of Bamyan, the giant statues that were dynamited out by the Taliban.

    The statues were 52 and 36 metres tall and carved into a sandstone cliff and were over 1500 years old when they were destroyed even though they were considered a UNESCO heritage site.
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.

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    Elen síla lumenn' omentielvo What Exit?'s avatar
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    Strange in a recent thread I was talking about the loss of Penn Station and thanks to a spammer this thread popped up today.

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    Member Elendil's Heir's avatar
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    ISIS is doing terrible damage to the cultural patrimony of the region: http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/31/middle...emple-damaged/

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