Montana State Orphans Home 


State Orphan Home - modern school and gymnasium
“A very modern school and gymnasium” Click to enlarge

Also known as the Montana State Children’s Center, the orphanage opened September 26, 1894. The Children’s Center operated successfully for a little over seventy years with the highest number of children being between 300 and 400 during the Great Depression. It was officially closed in 1976.

Interesting insight into the lives of residents can be found at this link: “Memories Of The Orphanage — Two Men Relive Their Days At A Montana Home And Give New Insight Into A National Debate”

“Their toothbrushes hung among 50 others above 50 identical hooks for their wash cloths in a cottage set aside for boys of a certain age. Every morning they watched the same ritual: the whipping of the bed-wetters. Every Tuesday night they ate stew, every Wednesday they ate beans, every Thursday hash or chipped beef, every Friday fish…”

Another link comes from The Madisonian newspaper in Ennis:  Longtime Twin Bridges resident, Bill Hanley, makes Christmas possible for many families in the Ruby Valley

“Twin Bridges is in Bill Hanley’s blood. When he was only four years old in 1942, Hanley and his older brother were placed in the Twin Bridges children’s home, where he lived until he joined the Marines at 17 years old… Read about what Hanley does for the community here:”

The Hadley article was followed by this comment from another former resident, Noel Freedman on March 8, 2016:

“While I was in the Twin Bridges Orphanage I wrote in my 5 Year Diary, every day, until I was released in 1945. I published an E-book, DUMPED. If you Google DUMPED, by Noel Freedman you can read the entries from 1942-1945. Bill Hanley entered the Orphanage after my release. However, I was at the 1995 Orphan Reunion and re-acquainted with many of my former friends. I gave Bill a copy of the Diary, and he gave out copies of the Diary. If anyone wants a copy, I can email the Diary. Reach me via this Gmail address:”.

On January 3, 2017, Noel Freedman brought this update: “Ghost Ventures created an episode in regard to the Orphanage in Twin Bridges, MT, on the Travel Channel November 26,2016. The Google e-book DUMPED was shown in the episode. As a spin-off, following the feature, the e-book was found via Google, DUMPED by Noel Freedman. Since the episode, over 5000 “visits” have reached the site, and counting. Most of the interest is to read the 5-Year Diary where daily entries were made, from January 1, 1942-May 30, 1945; during the author’s teen years in the Orphanage.

From the current owners and developers:

The Montana Children’s Center served the needs of support and care of dependent or neglected children who required the separation from their families or foster families or for whom foster care could not be obtained. The facility was closed in 1975 and has remained unused since the 1970’s.

Since April of 2005 the Adams’ have spent time assessing the viability of the buildings, stopping degradation of the buildings, updating utilities and laying the groundwork for the facility to some day participate as a viable economic entity in the Twin Bridges community.

Images here and in Gallery are courtesy of current owners and the Twin Bridges Historical Association

For information regarding development opportunities, visit the Leslie Adams Development Inc. website.

Montana State Children’s Center Gallery

Photos Provided by the Twin Bridges Historical Association, and by the owners for the Montana State Children’s Center.