Monowi, Nebraska – Monowi, Nebraska - Atlas Obscura

Monowi, Nebraska

Monowi, Nebraska

America's smallest town is run by its single citizen/mayor/librarian/bartender. 


The term “small town America” is thrown around pretty liberally these days. But Monowi, Nebraska’s town with a population of just one, gives new definition to the phrase. 

Once a lively town of 150 people in the 1930s, the tiny town’s population had dwindled to only two people by the 2000 census. A married couple, Rudy and Elsie Eiler, were the final holdouts in the area after the younger population dispersed into the wide world in search of jobs and other opportunities.

Despite the mass exodus, the aging couple held out in their town, keeping it alive. Unfortunately, the population of Monowi was cut in half in 2004 when Rudy Eiler passed away, leaving Elsie the sole resident of the town.

Elsie Eiler is now the proprietor of the town’s only private business, the Monowi Tavern. After her Rudy’s passing, Elsie also established a small library named after her late husband. In addition to her role as bartender and librarian, Elsie is also the town’s mayor. In her governmental position, she must pay herself taxes, renew a liquor license to herself, and produce a yearly road plan to secure funding for the town’s four stoplights. 

Elsie runs things so smoothly that putting the “mono” back into Monowi seems like it’s working out just fine. 

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