The story of the Orphan Train began in the 1850s as an effort to rescue poor and homeless children from the streets of New York. Between 1854 and 1929, it's estimated up to 250,000 children were transported via Orphan Trains, to new homes in rural America.
According to historian, Mary McLain "It's considered probably the greatest mass migration of children in the history of the world."
McLain's mother was an orphan train rider. She traveled from New York to Clear Lake in 1912. It's estimated that 20,000 Orphan Train children ended up in Iowa.
The 2004 Iowa Orphan Trian Rider reunion is scheduled for August 14 in Clarinda, Iowa. Orphan Train Rider descendents and interested persons may contact Mary McLain for more information.