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Young Professionals of Greater Dowagiac

2018 Orphan Train

2018 Orphan Train

Regular price $30.00
Regular price Sale price $30.00
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One 2018 Orphan Train YPGD ornament

In the mid-1800s, homeless, orphaned children roamed the streets of New York City. In 1853, Charles Loring Brace founded the Children’s Aid Society to care for the children with the ultimate goal of having the children adopted. He came up with the idea to send the children on train to be adopted by families in the western United States (Michigan at that time was part of the western U.S.). He sent the first trainload of 46 children west in September 1854 with one destination– Dowagiac, Michigan.

After an arduous journey of two train and two boats rides (including one across Lake Erie), the children arrived safely in Dowagiac. Over the course of several days, 37 of the children were adopted by local families and the project was deemed a success. This experiment led to 75 years of Orphan Trains placing out 250,000 children across the continental United States. Not all children had positive experiences, but many children got a new start on life– “Starting a New Life” honors the first trip to Dowagiac and the subsequent 75 years of Orphan Train journeys.

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