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Boys Town, formerly Girls and Boys Town and Father Flanagan's Boys' Home, is a non-profit organization dedicated to caring for its children and families.

Boys Town

Establishment and headquartersEdit

Father Flanagan's Boys' Home
LocationBoys Town, Nebraska
Coordinates41°15′52″N 96°7′58″W / 41.26444°N 96.13278°W / 41.26444; -96.13278Coordinates: 41°15′52″N 96°7′58″W / 41.26444°N 96.13278°W / 41.26444; -96.13278
Area1,310 acres (5.3 km2)
ArchitectLeo A. Daly Construction
Architectural styleTudor Revival, other
NRHP reference #85002439
Significant dates
Added to NRHPFebruary 4, 1985[1]
Designated NHLDFebruary 4, 1985[2]

The national headquarters of Boys Town is in the village of Boys Town, Nebraska. The property was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was designated as a National Historic Landmark on February 4, 1985.

Boys Town was founded on December 12, 1917,[3] as an orphanage for boys, then called the "City of Little Men". It was founded by Edward J. Flanagan, a Roman Catholic priest working in Omaha, Nebraska at that time. The City of Little Men pioneered and developed new juvenile care methods in twentieth-century America, emphasizing social preparation as a model for public boys' homes worldwide."[4]

Facilities include the Hall of History, dedicated to the history of Boys Town; the restored home of Father Flanagan; the Dowd Memorial Chapel and the Chambers Protestant Chapel; and the Leon Myers Stamp Center. The latter provides historical stamp-collecting exhibits and sells donated stamps to provide support for Boys Town programs.[5] It has a summer camp on West Lake Okoboji, located near West Okoboji, Iowa.

National MissionEdit

Changing the way America cares for children and families.[6]


In 1943, Boys Town adopted as its image and logo a picture of a boy carrying a younger boy on his back, captioned "He ain't heavy, Father, he's my brother." They felt it epitomized the importance of their residents caring for each other and having someone care about them.[7] The saying inspired a song and album by The Hollies.

National locationsEdit

Boys Town has grown over the years, providing care to children and families across the country. There are 9 sites across the United States, in Central Florida, North Florida, South Florida, Louisiana, Nebraska, Iowa, New England, Nevada, and Washington, D.C.[8]

In popular cultureEdit

  • In the ending of Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987), Superman places Lex Luthor's nephew Lenny in Boys Town, informing the priest that Lenny has been under a bad influence, and returns Lex to prison.

Abuse of ResidentsEdit

In 2015, a former supervisor at Boys Town was convicted of having sex with a minor.[9] The offender was sentenced to five years’ probation, subject to various terms and conditions, and the conviction was affirmed by the Supreme Court of Nebraska.[10]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23.
  2. ^ "Father Flanagan's Boys' Home". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Archived from the original on 2009-03-11. Retrieved 2008-06-27.
  3. ^ "Boys Town Centennial Commemorative Coin Program". Retrieved March 6, 2017.
  4. ^ Colverd, Sue; Hodgkin, Bernard (2011). Developing Emotional Intelligence in the Primary School. Routledge. p. 153. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  5. ^ "Visit the Village". Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  6. ^ "About Boystown".
  7. ^ Williams, Andy (13 July 2015). "He Ain't Heavy Boys Town's Chris and Lori Mathsen". Archived from the original on 2016-08-29. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  8. ^ "Boys Town National Locations". Retrieved 8 May 2019.
  9. ^ "Former Boys Town supervisor convicted after having sex with 17-year-old ward of state".
  10. ^ State v. Wood, 296 Neb. 738, 895 N.W.2d 701 (2017).

External linksEdit