Boys Town Celebrates 100 Years

OMAHA, Neb.- Boys Town will mark its 100th anniversary coming up in December. Here on Pure Nebraska, we decided to learn more about this famous organization.

Boys Town was founded on December 12th, 1917 by Father Flanagan in downtown Omaha. Father Flanagan was born in Ireland, and emigrated to the U.S. He began ministry as a Catholic priest working in parishes in Omaha. "He saw that the issues of homeless children were not being addressed in downtown Omaha at the time. So he said, I'm going to create a program to help the children that nobody wants," Boys Town Director of Community Programs Thomas Lynch said. "So, he created a situation where kids from all races and religions could live together in a family-style setting," Lynch said.

In 1921, Father Flanagan moved out of downtown Omaha and purchased some land at 144th and Dodge which was in the country then. It was called "Overlook Farm". In 1926, there was an election among the boys to choose a name for the new village, and they chose the name "Boys Town". Eventually, Boys Town became and official village in 1936. That means Boys Town to this day has a village board, the mayor who is elected is on of the boys or girls living there. The village also has it's own post office and police force.

Boys Town became a "national historic landmark" in 1986, and the village is actually considered to be a national historic landmark "district", and it's the only one in the state of Nebraska.

Boys and girls who live in the Boys Town village get religious education, they go to high school, and it's very much like a family setting, where experts help them with issues they may have. There are special counselors on hand at Boys Town, and medical issues can also be addressed.

Visitors are welcome at Boys Town, and there are tours at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. weekdays. There is a nice visitors center, along with the Hall of History which is well worth a visit, along with Father Flanagan's Home.