Orphan Train Mural


The long term product of the Starting a New Life: Dowagiac’s Orphan Train Story will be a mural on the Pennsylvania Street side of the Dowagiac Post Office. Artist Ruth Andrews designed the mural and led community members of various skill levels in the final painting. The mural was dedicated on October 11, 2017.  Starting a New Life takes the orphaned children from the hard streets of New York City to a place with a new future via the Orphan Train. 

About the Artist
Ruth Andrews began her artistic career as an experimental filmmaker in Chicago in the early 1970s. Her work was included in film festivals throughout the Midwest and in 1974, Incumbent Mama was screened at Cannes. Early indoor murals were made for Oaklawn Center and Elkhart General Hospital. Ruth’s award-winning paintings and sculpture have been exhibited at the Dogwood Fine Arts Festival, Art Prize in Grand Rapids, the Kalamazoo Institute of Art and other venues. In 2010 Ruth teamed up with Steve Arseneau, Marty Kaszar and others to create a 3,000-sq. ft. outdoor mural about the 1847 Kentucky Raid, located in the heart of Cassopolis.

Ruth became interested in the Orphan Train when her Michigan History Day students selected it as their project in 2016. She is delighted to be working with Steve, Marty, and Bobbie Jo Hartline again. “The first Orphan Train didn’t come to Dowagiac by accident. Charles Loring Brace and Rev. Clark Olmstead believed the people of Dowagiac would make it work. They were right! I hope the people of Dowagiac are proud of this story and will be proud of the mural.”




Follow the Mural Progress