Elsie Eiler is the only resident of Monowi, a town less than a square mile[1 sq km].
Minowi is a small town in Boyd County, five miles from the South Dakota border north of the U.S. state of Nebraska. This small town covered with fields, wheat and with inaccessible roads has a particularity known as a single-person city.
Founded in 1902, it is less than a square kilometer and reached its peak population in the 1930s with 150 inhabitants, before younger residents decided to move to large cities such as New York, Kansas, Oklahoma and central Nebraska, with the aim of working in large companies and with the addition, at least, of World War II.
In the 2000 census the village had a population of two inhabitants: the wedding of Rudy and Elsie Eiler. In 2004, the man died and left his wife in charge of the entire town. That is why the woman — who is now 84 years old — is the mayor, secretary, treasurer, librarian, barwoman and the only person left in Monowi.
Monowi is a village located in Boyd County in the state of Nebraska.
a family business
Today, according to the US Census, Monowi is the only place in the country with only one resident. The town has a very small North American -style canteen, it has an old structure, almost abandoned, where every morning Elsie serves her clients -passers on the country highways- all sorts of things: hamburgers , hot. dogs, fries and beer.
At the entrance it read: “Welcome to the world famous Monowi Tavern. The coldest beer in town!” Elsie and the “Monowi Tavern” were featured on CBS’s Sunday Morning show on October 29, 2006, and again on August 12, 2007.
Every year the woman hung a notice on the sole business (her bar) announcing elections for mayor, and then vote for himself. From the Government, they demand that he present a municipal plan to raise funds: last year he collected approximately USD $ 500, which he used to pay taxes and to maintain the basic services of his town.
Elsie, at her bar, is almost always accompanied by guests who come to greet her.
Elsie, speaking to the BBC, explained: “When I apply to the State for my alcohol and tobacco licenses every year, they send it to the town secretary, who I am.” He added: “Then I hired them as a secretary., I signed them as employees and handed them to me like a bar owner.
He himself monitors the situation regarding vacant residential lots to find buyers and get willing to move to restore the city.
There is another emblematic building in this magical little town. Rudy, Elsie’s husband, a few months before he died had a desire to build a library representing both him and his place- And thanks to his collection of more than 5,000 books and magazines, he fulfilled his dream with the help of his children, nephews and grandchildren.
The Monowi Bookstore has over 5,000 books and magazines.
Family and friends built ceiling -high bookcases, and their grandchildren painted a handmade sign that read “Rudy’s Library.”
Monowi in its golden age
In the mid-20th century, Monowi was home to 150 people and a mandatory stop on the Elkhorn Railroad. At the time, the charming town had restaurants, clothing stores, a church (which still works) and even a prison.
Elsie grew up in a farmhouse less than 1 kilometer from the city and met her husband at Monowi Primary School. Over the years, the two of them were together on the bus to the nearest high school, 7 miles away, until Rudy enlisted in the U.S. Air Force.
While the man served in France during the Korean War, Eiler went to Kansas to fulfill his dream of working as an airline stewardess.
A postcard from Monowi in the 1930s. It had 150 inhabitants.
The woman went home to get married at age 19 and raise two children. Rudy, who works in the grain elevator and delivers fuel to gas stations, has the idea to fix up the old saloon owned by Elsie’s father. Two years later, the couple opened the place in 1971.
In 2004, when the lady was left alone, the media put Monowi in the news. The smallest city in the United States has become popular and now tourists are coming from all over the world out of curiosity. Elsie has four guestbooks full of comments.
“I know that at any time I can leave with my children and grandchildren, but I want to live here. Someone’s home is where his heart is,” Elsie said in an interview for the YouTube channel. Welcome To The Smallest Town In America … Population: 1. She in turn continues to prepare hamburgers and hotdogs for her guests.