The city of Dowagiac is planning a special event for next Saturday as it dedicates a new mural remembering the local Orphan Train. City Manager Secretary Bobbie Jo Hartline tells WSJM News the Orphan Train started in New York City in the mid-1800s as a way to find homes for orphans in that city throughout the United States.
“There were 48 children on that first train,” Hartline said. “Within a couple of days, 37 of them found new homes. The other went on to the next stop. For the next 75 years, another 250,000 children got a new start in the west due to that program.”
For generations, kids from the Orphan Train wound up in Dowagiac. Cass County artist Ruth Andrews and some volunteers have produced a nearly two block-long mural remembering the Orphan Train. It;’s in the 100 block of Pennsylvania Avenue. The mural will be dedicated next Saturday at 1 p.m. as part of the city’s annual Under the Harvest Moon festivities. Everyone’s invited.