America’s Loneliest Town

Small town usually comes with the connotation that everyone knows each other, that there’s a strong sense of community among the population and that every helps each other. Usually.

Well, here’s the smallest, loneliest town in America, if not in the entire world: Monowi, Nebraska, with a population of one. A U.S Census data in 2010 has reported that Monowi is the only town in America with merely one resident.

Elsie Eiler, the only resident of the town is in turn the mayor of the town, as well as the treasurer, clerk, bartender, librarian and of course has many other positions in which she is in charge of for her town.

During the annual elections for mayor, she hangs up a sign in the local tavern. She then votes for herself and always wins.  The federal law requires Elsie to create a municipal road plan in order to ensure funding from the state. She also has to pay annual taxes to ensure that electricity and water will stay on, and fills out all of the city’s annual paperwork to maintain it as a recognized town.

When she applies for liquor and tobacco licenses to the state, they send them to the village secretary, which is unsurprisingly her as well. She receives them as the secretary, signs them as the clerk and gives them to herself, the bartender.

Monowi in the 1930’s was a train top on the Elkhorn Railroad as there was a population of 150 and several shops.  Eiler grew up on a farm nearby to the town and met Rudy, her husband in school. They raised their family in Monowi, however the city had already started to decline. Especially after WWII, the economy fell in the area and most people left.

The last funeral held in the church was for Eiler’s father. Things continued to shut down, the school, grocery store, post office. Both of her children moved away in search of work. And eventually, twenty years later, Eiler and Rudy made up the entire population. Rudy then passed away in 2004, leaving Eiler as the only resident of the town.

Eiler reports that despite the fact that she lives alone, she does not feel lonely. She opens the tavern six days a week and is there for 12 hours a day serving regular customers who’ve she’s known for decades.

Rudy’s library also keeps her on her feet, with the key hanging in the tavern for anyone who wants. Travelers from across the world come to see this unique town and wait to sign her guestbook.