The following is part of our Centennial Timeline Series, providing historical insight into each decade of Boys Town’s history. During this decade, Boys Town made another fundamental change, admitting girls for the first time in 1979. In addition, the organization expanded, constructing its first national site in Tallahassee, Florida. Meanwhile, the original site in West Omaha was designated a National Historic Landmark.
The Boys Town Institute for Communication Disorders in Children opened near downtown Omaha in 1977. It was later renamed the Boys Town National Research Hospital, becoming internationally recognized as a leader in clinical and research programs focusing on childhood deafness, visual impairment and related communication disorders.
In 1979, Boys Town opened its programs to girls. The first give girls graduated from Boys Town High School in 1983. Also in 1983, Boys Town’s first national site opened in north Florida, in Tallahassee.
Monsignor Hupp retired as Boys Town’s executive director in 1985, and Father Val J. Peter was appointed as his successor — the fourth executive director of Boys Town. That same year, the U.S. Department of Interior named Boys Town a National Historic Landmark.
1986 was an exciting year for Boys Town. The organization opened its Hall of History museum; Nancy Reagan received the Father Flanagan Award for Service to Youth; the U.S. Postal Service issued a new four-cent Father Flanagan stamp; and the second affiliate site, Boys Town Central Florida, opened in Orlando.