Boys Town USA
Douglas County, Nebraska
You may recall the Oscar-winning movie Boys Town, but did you know the village made famous by Hollywood is still working to give children a second chance and is open year-round for tours? This year is especially exciting, as Boys Town celebrates its 100th anniversary.
In 1917, a young Irish priest named Father Edward J. Flanagan opened Father Flanagan’s Home for Boys and welcomed all boys, regardless of their race or religion. In 1921, Flanagan moved his Boys’ Home to the outskirts of Omaha, where it became known as the Village of Boys Town. By the 1930s, hundreds of boys lived at the village, which grew to include a school, dormitories and administration buildings. Girls were welcomed to Boys Town in 1979.
More than 100,000 visitors from across the United States are welcomed to the Village of Boys Town each year. In addition to the special features below, there are many events planned throughout 2017 to celebrate the organization’s 100th anniversary.
Boys Town, conveniently located on Dodge Road just off I-680 W, within 20 miles of downtown Omaha, welcomes groups. Tours begin at the Visitors Center, where a step-on guide greets the bus. From there, a driving tour through the village will show where the children live, play, work, go to school and pray.
Among the stops:
• The Hall of History Museum presents the unique history of Boys Town through permanent exhibits that use audio and video presentations. Tour passengers will discover how Boys Town programs developed and how Boys Town continues its mission to change the way America cares for children, families and communities.
• Father Flanagan’s Tomb, located within Dowd Memorial Chapel, has served as a refuge for many looking for a quiet place to reflect and learn about Boys Town’s founder.
• The historic Father Flanagan House is the former residence of Boys Town’s founder. The décor and furnishings interpret the year 1929, and many of Father Flanagan’s personal belongings are on display. One of his most prized possessions – a desk made for him by Boys Town youth – is the centerpiece of the study. It consists of more than 250,000 inlaid pieces of wood.
• Leon Myers Stamp Center, located in the Visitors Center, includes exhibits of stamps made by children, stamps with fairy tales, stamp collections and information about stamp collecting. Tour passengers get have their picture taken next to the World’s Largest Ball of Stamps, a favorite with children and adults alike.
The experienced and friendly tour guides offer groups an insider’s perspective on life in the village and share stories about the special moments and famous faces that make up Boys Town’s illustrious past.
Tours can be customized to fit a group’s theme, interest or age, and can include, among other options, a picnic lunch, dining in the café or attending a religious service in one of the chapels. For groups of 15 or more, submit a request or schedule a tour online at boystown.org/about/visit-the-village/Pages/tours.aspx.
Phone (800) 625-1400 or visit boystown.org for more information.
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Boys Town USA