Welcome to Monowi, Nebraska. Population 1. No, that’s not a typo. There are some towns and cities in the world sparsely populated, and with very few residents, but this one takes the biscuit! You may not have heard of this place before, we certainly haven’t, but you won’t forget it in a hurry, once you hear the amazing story behind it.
Enjoying its peak years in the 1930s, Monowi has declined since then and is now one of the most remote places in America. It is also the only incorporated municipality in the United States with a population of just 1. This is the story of Monowi, and how it has come to shape the life of one very special woman. Check out this stunning and almost abandoned village, and meet the woman who lives here.
In the remote upper reaches of Nebraska, the sprawling, empty wilderness winds away over the hills, past rivers, and down to dirt roads. Through fields of gold, and lush, green prairies, you find yourself eventually reaching the village of Monowi. Its abandoned church looming large and serving as an indicator of what’s to come. Abandoned, broken down homes pepper the sides of the road, and four street lights stand proudly, looking slightly out of place. There is one home here that is decidedly unabandoned, and inside it is Elsie Eiler.
84-year-old Elsie is the last remaining resident of Monowi, Nebraska. She lived here with her husband Rudy, and they were the only residents. Following Rudy’s death in 2004, Elsie became the last remaining resident of the village. She acts as the Mayor, pays herself taxes, grants a liquor license, and produces a road plan every year. Not only that, but she also acts as the librarian for Rudy’s Library, which she founded in memory of her husband. In addition to this, she also runs her bar, which is the only business in Monowi.
As you might imagine, something this unique and interesting was always going to get national attention sooner or later. And this finally happened when Elsie, and the town, were featured on the Today Show in 2005, and CBS Sunday Morning in 2006. Clearly, a source of great interest for a lot of people, the town, and Elsie also appeared on the show Only in America with Larry the Cable Guy. This led to Larry himself organizing a fundraiser to try to help raise money Elsie and her village – resulting in around 1,000 people showing up to help out.
This is one of the more remarkable stories we’ve heard about in America, and Elsie is a truly fascinating woman. We’d love to head to Monowi, Nebraska and have a couple of cold ones at Elsie’s bar. These are the sorts of communities that give so much character to America, and they need to be preserved and enjoyed. We hope more people eventually move to Monowi and settle there so that the village can continue the legacy it has already built over time.