Virginia Beach, Virginia, 23451
The Norwegian Lady Statues are located in the sister cities of Moss, a coastal town and municipality in the county of Østfold, Norway, and at the Oceanfront (boardwalk) in the coastal resort city of Virginia Beach, Virginia.
On Good Friday, March 27, 1891, the Norwegian barque Dictator, whose home port was the coastal town of Moss, Norway, was lost in the Atlantic Ocean south of the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay off Virginia Beach, Virginia. The Dictator had a crew of 15 and the captain's family aboard.
The sailing ship had been en route to West Hartlepool, England from Pensacola, Florida with a cargo of Georgia Pine lumber. After being caught and disabled in several storms along the East Coast of the United States, she was headed up the coast for port at Hampton Roads at Norfolk, Virginia to make repairs when she encountered gale force winds.
Just a few miles south of Cape Henry, and the comparative shelter of the Chesapeake Bay, the sailing ship was driven aground on a sandbar over 300 yards (300 m) offshore of Virginia Beach near present-day 37th street. Her only two lifeboats were destroyed as the main mast and other rigging fell onto the deck.
As the vacationing guests of the Princess Anne Hotel and area residents of the small new resort town watched, members from Seatack and Cape Henry Lifesaving Stations of the United States Lifesaving Service (a predecessor agency of the United States Coast Guard) worked in the high winds and seas at rescue efforts beginning about 10:45 A.M.
Combined with efforts of the ship's crew, 8 of the 17 persons aboard were saved using several methods including a breeches buoy before it was too dark to continue. Johanne Jørgensen, the pregnant young wife of Captain Jørgen M. Jørgensen, and their 4-year-old son Carl Zealand Jørgensen, were among those who drowned in a final escape attempt as the ship broke up. One more sailor survived, but five other sailors were also drowned. The Captain was somehow spared and washed ashore semi-conscious, but still alive.
Norwegian sculptor Ørnulf Bast was commissioned to create two nine-foot bronze replicas of the original figurehead. The Norwegian Lady statues were unveiled on September 22, 1962. One was presented as a gift to Virginia Beach, and an exact duplicate was erected in Moss, Norway to unite the two cities. Each statue gives the appearance of facing the other across the Atlantic Ocean (but in reality, the directions of their respective gazes are almost perpendicular to each other).
Moss and Virginia Beach officially became sister cities in 1974.
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