THE NORWEGIAN LADY
"I am the Norwegian Lady. I stand here, as my sister before me, to wish all men of the sea safe return home."
The Statue is located on the seaside in Moss, Norway and her
twin sister by the Atlantic coast in Virginia Beach, U.S.A., as a reminder of a tragic boat accident in 1891, and also as a symbol of the friendship between the two cities.
The bark "Dictator", registered in Moss, was in March 1891 on her way from Pensacola in Florida bound for England with a cargo of timber. Captain Jørgensen had a crew of 14, and his wife and their 4 year old son were also aboard. When they rounded the south coast of Florida they met a gale which by Bahamas increased to a hurricane. The high waves smashed two of the lifeboats and swept them overboard. The ship was taking in water, the pumps were damaged, and the water was flowing into the ship. Jørgensen decided to seek shelter in Hampton Roads in Virginia to enable him to repair the ship. The weather conditions made it impossible to ascertain the position for days, and suddenly when they approached the coast, the ship hit a sandbank 370 yards at the coast of Virginia Beach. This happened on the morning of Good Friday March 27.
Two local U.S. Life Savings Stations (early U.S. Coast Guard) had received a message of a ship in distress and went out to see to rescue ship and crew. The ship was broken down in the big sea, nine of the crew and captain Jørgensen were saved. Mrs. Jørgensen, the son Carl and five of the crew lost their lives; they were buried in Norfolk on 31st. of March.
The day after, they found the magnificent figurehead from the bark "Dictator" on the shore together with all the wreckage. It was placed on the oceanfront facing the sea, as a memorial for the shipwreck and those who perished. This figurehead became a beloved landmark in Virginia Beach. It stood for 62 years until it was destroyed in the Hurricane "Barbara" in 1953, which caused heavy damage in Virginia.
The people of Virginia Beach did not forget their "Norwegian Lady" and after some time they began the work to replace it. Erik Bye, well known from popular seamen’s programs in the Norwegian Broadcast Corporation, took an interest in the story and together with "The Jubilee Fund of 1920 for the Beautifying of Moss city " and " The Society for the Welfare of the city of Moss " and cooperation Mayor Emil Andersen, together with shipping and industries, funding was raised and the sculptor Ørnulf Bask was commissioned for the work. It was given a copy of the sculpture to the town of Moss and on the 22nd. of September 1962 the two " Lady’s " unveiling could take place in Virginia Beach and Moss simultaneously. The figurehead is standing on the shoreline, facing the sea and greeting her twin sister in Virginia Beach.
The Norwegian Lady statue became a solid bond between Virginia Beach and Moss.
Virginia Beach and Moss have been sister cities since 1974 for the purpose of creating greater mutual understanding between the people of Moss and Virginia Beach.
Prove you were here by posting a picture of yourself in front of the statue.
The Norwegian Lady of Virginia Beach (Wordpress)
NRK: Erik Bye- Siste Havn (FWD to 7:40)