On March 27, 1891, the stormy Atlantic Ocean caused the Norwegian Bark Dictator to seek haven and repairs in Hampton Roads. Heavily loaded with yellow pine, on a voyage from Pensacola, Florida to England, the Dictator had been damaged by a series of storms. Adverse winds and bad weather prevented the ship from rounding Cape Henry, forcing her to run aground off Virginia Beach, a short distance from where you are now standing.
The grounding destroyed the Dictator. Members of the Seatack Life Saving Station saved Captain Jorgenson and nine crew members but seven people, including the captain's wife and son, died in the shipwreck
For 62 years the ship's wooden figurehead was preserved on a site on the beach as a reminder of the Dictator's loss.
Thomas Goode Baptiste who owned a summer cottage in Virginia Beach, championed the erection of a new memorial. The people of Moss, Norway, homeport of the Dictator, raised funds for the monument, The Norwegian Lady, a bronze statue created by Norwegian sculptor, Ornulf Bast.
On September 21. 1962, identical Norwegian Lady statutes were erected, one in Virginia Beach, the other in Moss. They face each other across the Atlantic Ocean, wishing all men and women of the sea safe return home.