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Orphan Train Museum.

Orphan Train Museum

Field review by the editors.

Concordia, Kansas

From the 1850s through the 1920s,, over a quarter-million unwanted or abandoned children in New York City were packed into railroad cars and shipped to the labor-starved farmlands of the West. Ads would announce the arrival of the Orphan Train: "Children: Free to a Good Home."

The old railway depot in Concordia has been turned into the National Orphan Train Museum, and features one of the train cars on which the orphans arrived. In Concordia, they were taken off the train and displayed on stage in a local theater, where local adults made their selection. The kids who weren't chosen got back on the train and traveled to the next station down the line. Some were abused and exploited by their adoptive parents, but the majority seem to have gone to decent families.

Although few people today know about the Orphan Trains, the museum estimates that one in 25 Americans is descended from one of those New York City kids.

Orphan Train Museum

300 Washington St., Concordia, KS
North side of downtown. On the west side of Washington St. just south of its intersection with W. 3rd St., next to the train tracks.
Tu-Sa 10-12, 1-4 (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Adults $6.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

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