Boys Town (organization)

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 based in Boys Town, Nebraska.

Boys Town
MottoSaving Children, Healing Families
FormationDecember 12, 1917; 103 years ago (1917-12-12)
FounderEdward J. Flanagan
Founded atBoys Town, Nebraska
Type501(c)(3) nonprofit
HeadquartersBoys Town, Nebraska


Boys Town, Nebraska

Boys Town was founded on December 12, 1917,[1] as an orphanage for boys. Originally known as "The City of Little Men", the organization was founded by Edward J. Flanagan, a Roman Catholic priest, while working in Omaha, Nebraska, who rented a home at 25th and Dodge Streets, in Omaha, to care for five boys, using a loan of $90.[2] From humble beginnings, the City of Little Men pioneered and developed new juvenile care methods in 20th-century America, emphasizing social preparation as a model for public boys' homes worldwide."[3]

2015 abuse caseEdit

In 2015, a former supervisor at a Boys Town group treatment home was convicted of having sex with a minor, aged 17.[4] The offender, a 32-year-old woman, was sentenced to five years’ probation, subject to various terms and conditions, and the conviction was affirmed by the Supreme Court of Nebraska.[5]


Father Flanagan's Boys' Home
LocationBoys Town, Nebraska
Coordinates41°15′52″N 96°7′58″W / 41.26444°N 96.13278°W / 41.26444; -96.13278
Area1,310 acres (5.3 km2)
ArchitectLeo A. Daly Construction
Architectural styleTudor Revival
NRHP reference No.85002439
Significant dates
Added to NRHPFebruary 4, 1985[6]
Designated NHLDFebruary 4, 1985[7]

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

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.[8]

It has a summer camp on West Lake Okoboji, located near West Okoboji, Iowa.

Boys Town Medical Center

Hospitals and clinicsEdit

In 1977, Boys Town founded and continues to operate the Boys Town National Research Hospital, located at 555 N. 30th Street, in Omaha. Its sister hospital, Boys Town National Research Hospital – West, is operated on the Boys Town campus. The NPO also operates several medical clinics in Nebraska, and one in Iowa.[9]


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," a phrase originating with the United Free Church of Scotland. They felt it epitomized the importance of their residents caring for each other and having someone care about them.[10] 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 nine sites across the United States, in Central Florida, North Florida, South Florida, Louisiana, Nebraska, Iowa, New England, Nevada, and Washington, D.C.[11]

In popular cultureEdit


  1. ^ "Boys Town Centennial Commemorative Coin Program". Retrieved 8 January 2020.
  2. ^ Timeline
  3. ^ Colverd, Sue; Hodgkin, Bernard (2011). Developing Emotional Intelligence in the Primary School. Routledge. p. 153. ISBN 9781136841347. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  4. ^ "Former Boys Town supervisor convicted after having sex with 17-year-old ward of state".
  5. ^ State v. Wood, 296 Neb. 738, 895 N.W.2d 701 (2017).
  6. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  7. ^ "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.
  8. ^ "Visit the Village". Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  9. ^
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ "Boys Town National Locations". Retrieved 8 May 2019.

External linksEdit