A musical duo dedicated to telling a fascinating, but not terribly well-known, piece of American history will visit Ardmore next week.
The “Orphan Train,” which transported orphaned children from New York City to locations throughout the country, transported roughly 250,000 children over the course of 76 years until 1929. Writer Alison Moore and musician Phil Lancaster will give a presentation on the train and the stories of those who rode it at the Ardmore Public Library next Sunday.  
Adult Services Librarian Amber Carter said the Oklahoma Humanities Council is funding presentations in Ardmore, Ada, Okmulgee, and Ponca City.
“They were applying for a grant through the Oklahoma Humanities Council and wanted to know if our library would be interested in being one of the stops,” Carter said. “They travel the United States and they’ve been doing this for about 20 years.”
The program is the official outreach program of the National Orphan Train Complex Museum and Research Center based in Concordia, Kan., which exists to preserve and tell stories about the train. A 1993 PBS documentary about the subject shed more light on it and inspired Moore and Lancaster to create the program.
“I’d maybe vaguely heard about it somewhere in history, but I didn’t really know much about it,” Carter said. “The more I read about it, the more unbelievable it is that something like that could happen.”
At least 500 children came to Oklahoma via the train, which stopped in Enid, Tulsa, McAlester, Sand Springs, Sayre, Shawnee, Tahlequah (Fort Gibson), Guthrie, Broken Arrow, and
Oklahoma City. The train stopped in Gainesville, Texas as well.
“It’s even closer than I’d thought,” Carter said.
The system was originally organized by Charles Loring Brace, a Methodist minister, and the Children’s Aid Society of New York.
The presentation includes storytelling combined with live folk music. The hour-long presentation will start at 2 p.m. on September 9 in the Smith Room at Ardmore Public Library.
“It’s a big deal for something like this to come here,” Carter said. “I think there’s a lot of interest here in Ardmore. They could have had a relative who was part of the movement.”