The original Boys Town was founded as a boys' orphanage in December 1917 by Edward J. Flanagan, a Roman Catholic priest working in Omaha. The "City of Little Men" pioneered development of new juvenile care methods in 20th-century America, emphasizing social preparation as a model for public boys' homes worldwide.
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, mister - he's my brother." They felt it epitomized the importance of their residents caring for each other and having someone care about them. The saying inspired a song and album by The Hollies.
Boys Town has grown and now provides care to children and families across the country. It is located in 12 regions across the country: California, Nevada, Texas, Nebraska, Iowa, Louisiana, North Florida, Central Florida, South Florida, Washington, D.C., New York and New England.
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.
In a sketch from the supporting Rocky and Bullwinkle segment, Mr. Know-It-All, Bullwinkle narrates on how to get rid of an unwanted guest (i.e. Spot the dog). One method is to open the door and "point in the general direction of Boys Town, indicating you wish him to leave."
In the 1980 movie Caddyshack, Al Czervik (Rodney Dangerfield) tells D'Annunzio, the caddy: "You're a funny kid, you know... Hey, what time we due back in Boys Town?"