To The Orphan Train Movement,

It’s 1854, New York City. America, the land of opportunity, awaited hundreds of thousands of new immigrants seeking a prosperous new life. In a span of 40 years, the city grew from under 100,000 to over 1 million people. Times were good. Growth and opportunity were abundant! 

In tenements, alleys, and city streets, however, families suffered. The tremendous influx of people brought overcrowding, a lack of housing, increased disease, and workers competing for wages. Too many mouths to feed with not enough money, or when one or both parents died, children were left to the streets, begging, with no homes to return to that night.

Enter Charles Loring Brace and the Children’s Aid Society. With a vision of helping the children of New York, orphanages were built. Quickly they became overcrowded, and another solution was necessary. Thus began the Orphan Train Movement. From 1854-1929, over 250,000 orphaned or abandoned children boarded trains in search of homes.

How does a story about 1854 New York find its way to modern day Concordia, Kansas? When the opportunity presented itself, through perseverance and a little luck, everything fell into place. In 2007, The National Orphan Train Complex found its home in Concordia, Kansas in a restored 1917 Union Pacific Depot. The Museum and Research Center is dedicated to the preservation of stories and artifacts with a mission to help descendants of riders with genealogical research, and bring awareness, understanding, and remembrance of the stories of these children.

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A Statue Stroll with over 45 bronze statues depicting Orphan Train riders, turns the whole city into a museum. In 2017, Concordia was officially named The Orphan Train Town, embracing the history of the social and cultural movement. Come discover their stories.  

The Orphan Train Town awaits!

To the stars,

Concordia, Kansas