Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Second Day on the Kansas Prairie




The first night found us in Concordia, Kanas up near the northern border in the middle of the state. It was a destination to go here because I wanted to visit the National Orphan Train Museum. We did not rest well that night. For me, I had done all the driving, from roughly 9 am to 4:30 pm. When I got out of the car that night my back and back side hurt; it was to ache for several more days. Both of us found that we can’t go the many miles in comfort that we used to go.

Not much was said or published about the orphan trains until the late 1980 when a woman in northern Arkansas wanted to know about her family’s background. She started a movement by which information was shared about the many children sent from the East to the Midwest during hard times. Nearly 200,000 children rode the trains to new families. Some stories were not so pretty in the end, and all stories were sad that these children had to be given up by poor or dying mothers in the first place.

Typical living conditions in the city at turn of century. There was not enough of anything for a large family...space, food, money.



The museum is located in a refurbished depot and note the colors which were determined by the National History foundation. They said this was a historically correct shade for a train depot of the time. While no orphan train actually unloaded in Concordia, stops were in nearby towns and many children grew up in the area or moved to the town eventually. A research resource is set in a separate building behind the depot. The entire facility is an interesting place to visit. Many people are reading the popular fiction called Orphan Train. One woman in Texas read it with her book club and then insisted her husband drive her to Kansas to see this site.



The children were dressed in an outfit of new clothes and give a small suitcase with one other outfit of clothing. They were numbered and assisted by adults who got them to their destinations. This little bonnet is the actually one a little girl wore on her ride West. 



It was here in this town we began to see the huge grain bins that feed the world, Kansas is known as Breadbasket of the World. Some call these grain elevators the Kansas Cathedrals.



The day was still young and we headed north to the Nebraska state line

5 comments:

Susan said...

Hi Claudia...I have to say, I never thought of the orphan trains. Never. What an interesting trip you are taking! Susan

Rebecca said...

Those elevators remind me of the ones in Hutchinson (more mid-state). Always quite a sight to see.

We used to live in Norton - west & a tad north of Concordia. What an interesting story - the orphan train.....

Sioux said...

Claudia--Yes, age DOES impact how comfortably we travel. These days, even after a few hours in the car, I stumble out of the car looking like the Hunchback of Notre Dame...

As always, I enjoy traveling with you vicariously...

Linda O'Connell said...

This was very interesting, and makes me sad. You find the most interesting places. Do you research first? Or just wend your way off the interstates?

Martha said...

Actually, two are easier than one -- for they do entertain one another. We found that out and we wouldn't have just one dog anymore. I'm not sure about more than two -- but definitely two!

Loved your post -- we have driven close to Concordia when DD went to KState but did not know about the orphan train.