Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Original Boys Town Home in 1917

100 Years of Boys Town: 1917–1927

    By Boys Town Contributor

Boys Town History, Father Flanagan, Saving Children, Village of Boys Town

The following is part of our Centennial Timeline Series, providing historical insight into each decade of Boys Town's history. Follow us on the 100-year journey begun by Father Edward J. Flanagan, a visionary whose mission was to change the way America cares for its children. Over the decades, Father Flanagan's work became internationally recognized, and Boys Town, the organization he started in 1917, has become a beacon of hope for children, families, and communities throughout the United States.

In this blog post, we take a trip back to Boys Town's first decade, where one man's determination and vision took root in a small downtown Omaha boarding house and grew to encompass a large campus west of the city.

On December 12, 1917, Father Edward Flanagan borrowed $90 from Henry Monsky to rent a boarding house at 25th and Dodge Streets in downtown Omaha, Nebraska. This marked the official opening of Father Flanagan's Home for Boys. Two years later, in 1919, the Home moved to the vacant German-American Home in South Omaha to accommodate the growing number of boys.

In 1921, Father Flanagan and the Home's youth moved to Overlook Farm, 10 miles west of Omaha. A year later, the Home broke ground for a new five-story main building. It was also in 1921 that one of the Home's youth, Reuben Granger, was photographed carrying fellow youth Howard Loomis on his back. The photograph would later become the inspiration for Boys Town's famous "Two Brothers" symbol.

In 1923, the Father Flanagan's Boys' Show began traveling in a Pullman railroad car named "The Overlook." The boys put on shows to raise money and awareness for the home.

In 1926, the boys voted to officially change the name of Overlook Farm to Boys Town.

Click through our slide show to see more photos.

1917 - The boarding house Father Flanagan rented at 25th and Dodge Streets in downtown Omaha to officially opened as Father Flanagan's Home for Boys.

Check out our interactive timeline to learn more about the first decade at Boys Town.​

For more information about teen dating, visit Boys Town's parenting website at boystown.org/parenting​. ​

Related Posts

 

 

Announcing the New Boys Town Education Centerhttps://www.boystown.org/blog/Pages/Announcing-the-New-Boys-Town-Education-Center-Campaign.aspxAnnouncing the New Boys Town Education CenterFather Flanagan knew that children facing neglect, indifference and abuse had bleak futures. So, he founded Boys Town on the belief that all children, no matter their race, color or creed, deserve the chance to learn and grow to their fullest potentialApril 20, 2021Boys TownFather Flanagan knew that children facing neglect, indifference and abuse had bleak futures. So, he founded Boys Town on the belief that all children, no matter their race, color or creed, deserve the chance to learn and grow to their fullest potentialBoys Town Contributor
Stopping the virus of hatehttps://www.boystown.org/blog/Pages/Stopping-the-virus-of-hate.aspxStopping the virus of hateDuring the past year, the pandemic has forced all of us to make sacrifices and change how we live. But for some, the stress has been magnified by an additional threat: coronavirus-inspired racism.April 14, 2021Boys TownDuring the past year, the pandemic has forced all of us to make sacrifices and change how we live. But for some, the stress has been magnified by an additional threat: coronavirus-inspired racism.Father Steven Boes, President and National Executive Director, Boys Town
​Celebrating the Women of Boys Townhttps://www.boystown.org/blog/Pages/Women-of-Boys-Town.aspx​Celebrating the Women of Boys TownGirls haven't always been a part of the Boys Town story. In fact, it wasn't until 1979 when girls could benefit from Boys Town's life-changing care.March 1st, 2021Boys TownGirls haven't always been a part of the Boys Town story. In fact, it wasn't until 1979 when girls could benefit from Boys Town's life-changing care.Boys Town Contributor