City Of One: Monowi's Only Resident Is A Mayor, Librarian, Treasurer, And Even Bartender

Family & Kids

March 12, 2018 14:05 By Fabiosa

If your three-membered family seems small to you, what would you think of a town with one citizen? 84-year-old Elsie Eiler is the only inhabitant of the smallest American town - Monowi, Nebraska. She is a mayor, treasurer, bartender, and even librarian, all at the same time. How did it happen that an elderly lady became the last citizen of the entire town? Let’s listen to Elsie’s story.


Amazingly small population

Apart from metropolises, America has also its opposite side. The number of towns with less than 1000 inhabitants is extremely high, showing the striking difference in the country’s development. For example, Minnesota’s tiny town Lanesboro settles only 754 people, but still is regarded as popular touristic destination, firstly for the amazing surroundings.

Michael Seiler /

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However, compared to Monowi, Lanesboro is an amazingly huge megapolis.

City of one

Regardless of the citizens’ number, every American city must strictly follow the municipal laws.

Great Big Story / YouTube

That is why every year, Elsie votes for the only mayor applicant – herself; composes a road plan to send it to secure state funding; raises $500 from the inhabitants (again herself) to certify the town has electricity gleaming and water running.

I’m happy here. I grew up here, I’m used to this, and I know what I want. It’s just hard to change after so many years.

In the mid-1950's, Monowi was a blooming pedestrian city with the population of around 150 inhabitants.

sevenMaps7 /

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While the crops were rich and the alcohol in the tavern was fresh, people stayed there and maintained the normal life. Soon, with the deterioration of the soil, there was no more point to live in the shortening place, so a lot of people moved away to forget about Monowi forever. The last funeral in the town was held for Elsie’s father in 1960, leaving her and her husband the two last citizens.

Great Big Story / YouTube

Even though today Monowi has the only living person, it always has the abundance of visitors coming from far and wide.

I get asked a lot if I’m lonely, and I say, ‘Well, there’s always somebody coming and going’. I’m visiting with you right now!

Another public building apart from the tavern in Monowi is a library. When Elsie’s husband Rudy was left the only man in the town, he thought it was his obligation to create the place where the history of the town will be preserved.

Great Big Story / YouTube

Even though he didn’t finish the library because of his death in 2004, his children, grandchildren, and even nephews helped Elsie to finish the little books place.

Great Big Story / YouTube

Twin town

Another popular tiny American town is Gross. The main difference it has with Monowi is that its population is twice as big as the last one’s. The city of two has the bank vault, the community hall, the house of residence, and a trailer for the guests.

The people of such small towns are to be respected. They claim they stay in there not because they have to, but rather because they want to.


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