The Grayt Cow
In early Grayton Beach, you were just as likely to run into another person, as a pig or cow.
Grayton Beach had its beginnings when an Army major, Charles T. Gray, built a homestead here about 1885. At the time, the federal government owned much of the land and a few people had reason to settle here. The soil was too sandy to farm and there were better timberlands inland. Gray got some neighbors in 1890 when Army General William Miller and his family moved in. Miller settled on the east part of Western Lake, grazing upwards of 10,000 head of cattle and any number of hogs on the open land. And the hogs didn’t always understand where pasture ended and a home’s front yard began.
“The hogs were all over the place, ”said one of Grayton’s most prominent residents, Van R. Butler. “They would get under the house and have a big time.”
I like to imagine, The Grayt Cow, as one of Miller’s cattle, wandering over to Grayton Beach from Western Lake to have a little beach time.
In 2018, a collaboration between local residents, Allen French and Joyce Levy, became The Grayt Wall of Art. It is a stretch of 50 feet of wood fence on Garfield St. across from the Red Bar. Their goal was to beautify their community with public art that all could enjoy. Art from local artists, Allison Wickey, Justin Gaffrey, Andy Saczynski and Clint Eagar are all prominently displayed.
Watch a timelapse video of the Grayt Cow
When Allen asked me to donate a piece of art for the wall, I said, “You bet! How big can I go?” I painted The Grayt Cow on a 9’ x 8’ pressure treated wooden panel made by local artisan, William Whalley. It weighs a ton, or just feels like it. I then sealed, gessoed and painted with Golden Acrylic Paints and sealed with UVA varnish to protect her from the Florida sun and inclimate weather. I think she speaks to many visitors to Grayton Beach and certainly reflects the fun and funky Grayton vibe.
For more information about Grayton Beach history, visit: