The Orphan Train

2021, Kansas, Road Trip, States

Traveling south on US 81, we made our way into Kansas and shortly thereafter noticed signs for the Orphan Train Depot and Museum in Concordia, Kansas. Unfortunately for us the museum buildings were closed but the signs and exhibits on the outside gave us some insight into this bit of American History that we didn’t learn about in history class. Actually our first knowledge of anything of the sort came in the opening chapter of Anne of Green Gables when the orphan Anne arrives by train to live with Matthew and Marilla. Then in August 2019 we visited the Golden Spike Tower at Bailey Yard in North Platte, Nebraska where we watched some video footage on the history of the orphan trains that transported hundreds of thousands of homeless children from overcrowded New York City to foster families on farms and in small towns across the heartland. This museum seeks to tell the stories of individuals who set off from an urban environment and everything they ever knew to a new life in agricultural America. Although there were many complaints about the placement of New York children in rural locations, we were touched by the stories that accompanied the statues scattered about the grounds and the evidence of the dedication of descendants to preserve those stories. While in Concordia we also stopped by the Whole Wall Mural and marveled at the creative way the history of Cloud County is reflected in a 3D mural created from 6,400 bricks. After settling into the Salina KOA for two nights, we treated ourselves to a delicious dinner at Tuscon’s Steakhouse as recommended by our delightful campground hosts. It’s been a great mini-visit to Kansas and we’re looking forward to our next opportunity to explore the state even more.

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1 Comment

  1. Susan O'Gara

    Wow!! What fascinating, touching hidden history. You should turn your wanderings into a few volumes for travelers. Can’t wait to see you!!! Lots of love and more adventures!!!!

    Reply

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