Central Iowa will host a reunion of people next month who were aboard the infamous orphan trains early in the 20th century. Mary McLain is co-founder of the Iowa Orphan Train Reunion, which is scheduled for August 2nd and 3rd in Ames. McLain hopes many original “riders” will be able to attend. Between 1854 and 1929, more than a quarter-million children between infancy and age 16 were sent out of New York City on trains to rural towns across the U-S, but mainly in the Midwest. At least 20,000 came to Iowa over the 75 years. McLain says it’s a sad part of our nation’s past. The children of overwhelmed immigrant families rode the trains in hopes of finding new homes with families in rural America. While many did, McLain says others were only taken in to work and were abused. Registration is required for the reunion. The deadline to register is July 29th. For more information, call McLain at (515) 278-0127.
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