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HomeHistoryNotes from the Museums: Orphan Trains

Notes from the Museums: Orphan Trains

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A new exhibit at the 1885 Train Depot brings attention to a period of time between 1854 and 1929 when orphan or homeless children from the Northeast were put on trains and shipped to other states. The idea was the brainchild of Charles Loring Brace who was the founder of the Children’s Aid Society. Brace thought that foster care with a farm family out in the rural countryside would be a much better existence than living on the treacherous streets of New York City and Boston. Once the train arrived at its destination, the placement of children was more like an auction than by mutual choice. Records show that about 400 of these children were sent to Jacksonville, Florida in 1902.

Linda Welker, the current exhibit coordinator at the Depot Museum, planned the display before the Covid pandemic and is pleased to finally be able to mount the exhibit. Ms Welker is also offering a program for groups of 8-20 adults wanting to learn more about The Orphan Trains. The $10/person donation for the special event includes the viewing of a film on the subject, a tour of the Depot Museum and light refreshments.
Please call 352-799-4766 or email [email protected] for reservations for your group.

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