Boys Town (organization)

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Boys Town

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.


Establishment and headquarters

Father Flanagan's Boys' Home
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Location Boys Town, Nebraska
Coordinates 41°15′52″N96°7′58″W / 41.26444°N 96.13278°W / 41.26444; -96.13278 Coordinates: 41°15′52″N96°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, Nebraska Village in Nebraska, United States

Boys Town is a village in Douglas County, Nebraska, United States. The population was 745 at the 2010 census. Boys Town is a suburb of Omaha.

National Register of Historic Places federal list of historic sites in the United States

The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) is the United States federal government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation for their historical significance. A property listed in the National Register, or located within a National Register Historic District, may qualify for tax incentives derived from the total value of expenses incurred preserving the property.

National Historic Landmark formal designation assigned by the United States federal government to historic buildings and sites in the United States

A National Historic Landmark (NHL) is a building, district, object, site, or structure that is officially recognized by the United States government for its outstanding historical significance. Of over 90,000 places listed on the country's National Register of Historic Places, only some 2,500 are recognized as National Historic Landmarks.

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]

Orphanage residential institution devoted to the care of orphans

Historically, an orphanage was a residential institution, or group home, devoted to the care of orphans and other children who were separated from their biological families. Examples of what would cause a child to be placed in orphanages are when the biological parents were deceased, the biological family was abusive to the child, there was substance abuse or mental illness in the biological home that was detrimental to the child, or the parents had to leave to work elsewhere and were unable or unwilling to take the child. The role of legal responsibility for the support of children whose parent(s) have died or are otherwise unable to provide care differs internationally.

Edward J. Flanagan American priest

Monsignor Edward Joseph Flanagan was an Irish-born priest of the Catholic Church in the United States. He founded the orphanage known as Boys Town located in Boys Town, Douglas County, Nebraska, which now also serves as a center for troubled youth.

Priest person authorized to lead the sacred rituals of a religion (for a minister use Q1423891)

A priest or priestess is a religious leader authorized to perform the sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and one or more deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities. Their office or position is the priesthood, a term which also may apply to such persons collectively.

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.

West Okoboji, Iowa City in Iowa, United States

West Okoboji is a city in Dickinson County, Iowa, United States. The population was 289 at the 2010 census. The city is located on West Okoboji Lake, from which it takes its name. It is part of the Iowa Great Lakes region.

National Mission:

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.

He Aint Heavy, Hes My Brother popular music ballad

"He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" is a ballad written by Bobby Scott and Bob Russell. Originally recorded by Kelly Gordon in 1969, the song became a worldwide hit for The Hollies later that year and again for Neil Diamond in 1970. It has been recorded by many artists in subsequent years. The Hollies' and Rufus Wainwright's versions of the song were featured in the film Zoolander.

The Hollies English pop group formed in Manchester in the early 1960s

The Hollies are a British pop/rock group best known for their pioneering and distinctive three-part vocal harmony style. The Hollies became one of the leading British groups of the 1960s and into the mid 1970s. It was formed by Allan Clarke and Graham Nash in 1962 as a Merseybeat-type music group in Manchester, although some of the band members came from towns further north in East Lancashire. Graham Nash left the group in 1968 to form the supergroup Crosby, Stills & Nash.

National locations

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]

Abuse of Residents

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]

Related Research Articles

<i>Boys Town</i> (film) 1938 film by Norman Taurog

Boys Town is a 1938 biographical drama film based on Father Edward J. Flanagan's work with a group of underprivileged and delinquent boys in a home that he founded and named "Boys Town". It stars Spencer Tracy as Father Edward J. Flanagan, and Mickey Rooney with Henry Hull, Leslie Fenton, and Gene Reynolds.

Dunlea Centre, prior to 2010 known as Boys' Town Engadine, is an Australian residential secondary school for adolescent young people and their families; the Centre is focused on working with young people where there are identified behavioural issues. Boys' Town Engadine – Dunlea Centre helps children, young people and their families to overcome the most severe disadvantages – problems such as abuse, homelessness, long term unemployment, mental health issues and the challenges of disability. The school is located in the Sydney suburb of Engadine, New South Wales and is run by the Roman Catholic Salesians, a religious order of priests, in conjunction with specialist teachers and social workers.

William L. Steele American architect

William LaBarthe Steele was an important architect of the Prairie School during the early twentieth century. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Steele worked in the office of renowned architect Louis Sullivan in Chicago, Illinois 1897–1900. He relocated to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to gain additional experience with three other architectural firms.

General Crook House

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Jewell Building

The Jewell Building is a city landmark in North Omaha, Nebraska. Built in 1923, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Located at 2221 North 24th Street, the building was home to the Dreamland Ballroom for more than 40 years, and featured performances by many touring jazz and blues legends, including Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, and Lionel Hampton.

Holy Family Catholic Church (Omaha, Nebraska) church building in Omaha, United States of America

Holy Family Church was built in 1883 at 1715 Izard Street, at the intersections of 18th and Izard Streets in North Omaha, Nebraska within the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Omaha. It is the oldest existing Catholic Church in Omaha, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Havens–Page House

The Havens–Page House, also known as the T. C. Havens House, is a historic house built between 1900 and 1924 at 101 North 39th Street in the Gold Coast Historic District of Omaha, Nebraska. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, this home is remarkable for its classical Georgian Revival architecture.

Notre Dame Academy and Convent

The Notre Dame Academy and Convent is located at 3501 State Street in the Florence neighborhood on the north end of Omaha, Nebraska. It is significant for its ethnic association with the Czech population in Nebraska as the only school and convent of the Czechoslovakian School Sisters de Notre Dame in the United States. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998. The groups were home to a high school for girls from 1925 through 1974.

Lincoln Highway (Omaha) auto trail in Omaha, Nebraska, USA

The Lincoln Highway in Omaha, Nebraska, runs east–west from near North 183rd Street and West Dodge Road in Omaha, Nebraska, towards North 192nd Street outside of Elkhorn. This section of the Lincoln Highway, one of only 20 miles (32 km) that were paved with brick in Nebraska, is one of the most well-preserved in the country. The roadway was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. The Lincoln Highway was the first road across the United States, traversing coast-to-coast from Times Square in New York City to Lincoln Park in San Francisco, California.

Robbins School school in Omaha

The Robbins School, originally called Franklin School, is located at 4302 South 39th Avenue in South Omaha, Nebraska, United States. It was built in 1910 to serve a newly established and growing Polish community in south Omaha. A 2000 rehabilitation converted the former school to rental residential use.

National Register of Historic Places listings in Douglas County, Nebraska Wikimedia list article

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Gurdon Wattles American businessman

Gurdon Wallace Wattles was an early businessman, banker and civic leader in Omaha, Nebraska who became responsible for bankrolling much of early Hollywood. Wattles was said to possess "all the right credentials to direct Omaha's fortunes for the twentieth century in the post-pioneer era: humble beginnings, outstanding ability, a fine intellect, impeccable manners, driving ambition, and a ruthless streak."

Brandeis–Millard House historic house in Omaha, Nebraska, USA

The Brandeis–Millard House is located at 500 South 38th Street in the West Farnam neighborhood, which is part of the Gold Coast Historic District in Midtown Omaha, Nebraska. Its carriage house is located at 3815 Dewey Avenue in the same area. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, it was designated an Omaha Landmark on June 10, 1986.

<i>Men of Boys Town</i> 1941 film by Norman Taurog

Men of Boys Town is a 1941 American drama film directed by Norman Taurog and written by James Kevin McGuinness. It is a sequel to the 1938 film Boys Town. The film stars Spencer Tracy, Mickey Rooney, Bobs Watson, Larry Nunn, Darryl Hickman and Henry O'Neill. The film was released on April 11, 1941, by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

F. A. Henninger American architect

Frederick A. Henninger (1865-1944), commonly known as F. A. Henninger, was a leading architect of Omaha, Nebraska. He was born in 1865 at Albia, Iowa, and attended the Chicago Art Institute. He moved from Chicago to Lincoln, Nebraska, and in 1891 to Omaha. He worked as a draftsman for an architect in 1895 and purchased the practice in 1896. He worked as an architect in Omaha until his retirement in 1937. After retiring, he moved to Pasadena, California and died there in 1944.

Jacob M. Nachtigall American architect

Jacob M. Nachtigall was an American architect active in Omaha and eastern Nebraska. The surname is sometimes spelled Nachtigal. He designed numerous Catholic churches and other buildings in Nebraska. Nachtigall was born in Germany in about 1874 and came with his family to the U.S. in 1883. He apprenticed under Thomas Rogers Kimball during 1900–1908 and went independent in 1909. A number of his works survive and are listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Works include :

Msgr. Bryan Walsh Children's Village (formerly Boystown) is a facility run by Catholic Charities in Cutler Bay, Florida. The facility was opened in 1964 and modeled on the Boys Town of Nebraska. In 2018, unaccompanied minor immigrants and migrant children separated from their families at the border were housed at the center.


  1. National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places . National Park Service.
  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).


  1. "Miracle of the Heart: A Boys Town Story". IMDB.