Could you guess how many people are in America’s smallest town? If you guessed one, then you are correct!
An 84 year old woman by the name of Elsie Eiler is the only resident of Monowi, Nebraska. Ever since her husband died in 2004, she has been the only person living in the neighborhood.
Back in the 1930s, Minowi was a bustling town where 150 people lived. There were several businesses in the area, including restaurants, a prison and grocery stores. As the years wore on, opportunities to make a living dried up as automation took jobs away from people and farming conditions became poorer. People who chose to stay behind died as they grew older.
As the only person living in town, Eiler wears many hats. She is the mayor, librarian, clerk, tavern owner and secretary. Since she is the only person in town, nobody runs against her as mayor. She operates a tavern that her and her husband bought in 1971. Regulars from other neighborhoods frequently visit this tavern to hang out and chit chat. She also runs and works for the town library. The library is a 320 square foot shed where 5,000 books are kept.
Every year, Eiler creates a municipal road plan in order to maintain funding from the state of Nebraska. She also puts in paper work to make sure that the town remains incorporated. She pays $500 in taxes to ensure that the water still runs and the three lamp posts in the neighborhood remain lit.
Eiler is very much settled in her life, and she does not plan on leaving Monowi anytime soon. When asked about what will happen when she passes away someday, she says that she does not want to think about that, and that whatever happens, happens.