The National Orphan Train Complex has unveiled 12 statues in Concordia, KS in honor of Orphan Train Riders and their descendants. It's the hope of the National Orphan Train Complex to reproduce the famous bronze statues of children at play on their grounds throughout the entire community.
Orphan Train Museum Curator Shaley George hopes to match businesses in Concordia with a bronze statue that pays tribute to an orphan train rider based on their actual profession and interests.
"Each statue will have a story card that tells the actual story of that rider, including the name and photo of the rider, if we have it," George said. "It will give it a real face. A real story."
The project began September 23, 2016 with the dedication of Mirian Zitur, an orphan train rider that has 220 direct descendants. Currently, there have been approximately 30 statues purchased as part of the project. The National Orphan Train Complex has plans to reach up to 50 new statues throughout Concordia.
The other statues that have already been installed in Concordia are:
- Miriam Zitur at the Broadway Plaza
- Elmer and Ethel Barney at Britt's Fountain and Gifts
- Teresa Martin at the Frank Carlson Library
- The Fallen Soldier Memorial at the Concordia American Legion
- Hallie Garwood at the Cloud County Historical Society Museum
- Kansas Riders Statue at Brown Business Services
- Roberta "Happy" Slifer at Cloudville in the Concordia City Park
- Father Paul Fangman at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Concordia
- Victor & Stanley Cornell Deger at CloudCorp
- Thelma Taylor at Monique & Co. Salon & Day Spa
The statues come from the Randolph Rose Collection in Yonkers, New York, a family-owned and operated company that specializes in handmade bronze garden sculpture, statues, fountains and accessories for home, garden and public spaces.
When the Orphan Train Movement began, it was estimated that 30,000 abandoned children were living on the streets of New York City. Charles Loring Brace founded the Children’s Aid Society in order to help these children.
From 1854 to 1929 an estimated 250,000 orphaned, abandoned, and homeless children were placed throughout the United States and Canada during the Orphan Train Movement. This period of mass relocation of children in the United States is widely recognized as the beginning of documented foster care in America.
To read more about the Orphan Train Movement, click here.
Anyone interested in learning more about the project, or is interested in purchasing a bronze statue, is encouraged to call the National Orphan Train Complex at (785) 243-4471.