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Dowagiac students go on ‘Orphan Train’ field trip

DOWAGIAC, Mich. -- As the city of Dowagiac continues to celebrate its pivotal role in the story of the Orphan Train, 150 students climbed aboard an Amtrak train on Wednesday for a special trip.

The Dowagiac Union Schools students boarded the train at the city’s train depot Wednesday morning.

Their own Orphan Train ride took them to Chicago, where they spent the day seeing some sights and learning about the history of the real Orphan Train.

“Instead of just sitting in the class and looking at a book – and reading it from a book – you get to actually be in the place, be on the train, looking around at all the cool stuff that they might’ve seen when they were on the train,” said sophomore David Napier.

“I hope that they remember this after today and can kind of relate a little bit to the Orphan Train,” said Ron Leatz, who organized the trip as a member of the Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers.

The first-ever Orphan Train pulled into Dowagiac’s original train depot back in 1854.

It’s credited with helping launch foster care as we know it today.

You can click here to watch ABC57’s special report about Dowagiac’s role in the story of the Orphan Train that aired on October 6.

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