Orphan Trains Delivered 10,000 Children to Iowa

 

Single Day Event: Thursday, March 22; 10 AM-Noon

Location: Wesley Acres, DM

Cost: $12

Class Limit: 35

 

Poverty, homelessness, overcrowding and other factors among east coast cities led to the transporting of more than 200,000 children to new homes across North America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including 10,000 to Iowa. While some children were selected by adults who gave them loving homes, others were not as fortunate. Since there was often a stigma attached to having been an orphan train rider, many chose to bury this part of their past. Stories of individual orphan train children, as told by either the riders or their descendants, will bring this page of our history to life.

 

Instructor Carol Bodensteiner received a BA degree in speech and English education at the University of Northern Iowa and an MA in mass communications from Drake University. Carol drew from her childhood to write Growing Up Country: Memories of an Iowa Farm Girl (2008). For an article published in the Iowan Magazine, she delved into the orphan train history. Carol also drew upon that research for her novel Go Away Home (2014), set in pre-World War II Iowa.

 

 

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