A bronze sculpture of Capt. Robert Gray, for whom Grays Harbor is named, has returned to its original home at the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority. The 22 ½-inch, 62-pound bust was sculpted by Shelton artist Molly Casey in 1988 to honor the construction of the brig Lady Washington, which was launched in 1989 as part of the state’s centennial celebrations.
The authority suffered a financial setback in 1990 and was unable to pay Casey for the work. The sculpture was displayed at the Grays Harbor County Courthouse in Montesano for several years before it was moved to the Port of Grays Harbor offices in Aberdeen.
This year, Historical Seaport supporters purchased the sculpture from Casey for $600. The sculpture is on display at the authority’s offices at Seaport Landing in South Aberdeen.
Gray, who lived from 1755 to 1806, was an explorer and merchant captain who pioneered the fur trade during two trading voyages to the Pacific coast of North America between 1790 and 1793. Gray explored portions of the coast, entering what was later named Grays Harbor and discovered the mouth of the Columbia River. In 1790, he completed the first circumnavigation of the earth by an American. The original Lady Washington was one of two vessels he captained on these voyages.
The purchase of the sculpture is part of ongoing efforts to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the launch of the modern day Lady Washington on March 7, 1989. The Historical Seaport plans to announce several public celebrations later.