The Montana State Orphanage, also known as the Montana Children’s Center, opened in 1894, during a very tough time in the state. The decline of the mining boom brought a waning economy and greater poverty to the area. This Twin Bridges orphanage was established as a way to help the local economy and instigate some social justice reform. And for the most part, it was a highly successful institution that taught children excellent life skills and how to be proficient as adults. However, it’s also a dark stain on Montana history that will never be forgotten.

Since its closing, the Montana Children’s Center has changed hands several times. Leslie Adams and her father bought it in 2005 and spent several years repairing and restoring the old buildings. When the orphanage closed, the staff simply locked the doors and left, so there was a lot of work to be done. The property was considered in a proposal for the home of the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame, but it lost out to another building.

The Twin Bridges orphanage certainly did a lot of good. Children were well-fed, clothed, and taught valuable life lessons. Still, it would be wrong to discredit the feelings of those who grew up under those conditions. The orphanage certainly filled a need, but it does have a dark side to its history.

What are your thoughts on this Twin Bridges orphanage history? Tell us in the comments!

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