Virginia Beach - The Norwegian Lady at Sunrise

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Virginia Beach - The Norwegian Lady at Sunrise

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On March 28, 1891 the Norwegian vessel Dictator, needing vital repairs and caught in a storm, ran aground on a sandbar 300 yards from the shore. This location is present day 37th street here in Virginia Beach. The two life boats on board were destroyed when the mast and rigging fell on the deck. Local residents, patrons from a nearby hotel and men from two nearby United States Lifesaving Services (now called the United States Coast Guard) braved the raging storm and tried to rescue the ship's valiant crew.

The crew aboard and local inhabitants worked together trying many different methods of rescue. They even used the breeches buoy system, but unfortunately, only 8 of the 17 were rescued. The casualties included Captain Jorgon's pregnant wife Johanne, his four year old son Carl and five members of his crew. The captain himself washed up on the beach in a semi-unconscious state and lived to return to his beloved Norway. Seven of his crew were buried in Norfolk at Elmwood Cemetery, while the remaining crew members, having washed ashore days later, were buried at a closer location near the Oceanfront.

A young boy walking along the beach found the female figurehead from the Dictator. Hearing the discovery, the manager of The Princess Anne Hotel went to secure the figurehead before the ocean would carry it away. As a testament to those who helped in the rescue, as well as those who perished, the manager had it vertically positioned on the boardwalk. Over the years she became known as the Norwegian Lady. Local lore had the Captain returning to the Norwegian Lady in Virginia Beach for many years after his incredible loss, flowers in hand and tears in eyes, to remember that dreadful and terrible day.

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All pictures ship unmatted, with a lustre finish that highlights the colors. Perfect for framing.