Places/Travel
22.3k readers

Monowi, NE Has A Population Of Exactly One - Here's What It's Like To Be Its Only Resident

Updated June 14, 2019 22.3k views10 items

There are many forms of media, from books to film to music, that demonstrate what it is like to live in a small town. There isn't anything, however, that shows what it is like to live in Monowi, Nebraska, a town with one resident. 

Elsie Eiler, a woman in her 80s, is the only person left in the small town. She lived there with her husband, who passed away in 2004, and now spends her time managing a town that's likely to die with her. Monowi, for the most part, is a ghost town, but Eiler doesn't let that ruin her fun. The following depicts what it's like to live in a town with a population of one. 

Photo:
  • She Granted Herself A Liquor License, Because She Can

    Photo: Foter

    If you've talked to any bar owner or operator in any major city like New York, Boston, Los Angeles, or Chicago, you know that obtaining a liquor license is probably your biggest obstacle. They cost thousands and thousands of dollars and are the only way you can legally sell liquor.

    The great thing about being the mayor of your own town - the only governing body of your town, really - is that you can easily grant yourself a liquor license to run your tavern. That's something. Another situation where Eiler's in luck! 

  • Her Idea Of "Neighbor" Is Very Different

    When you think of your neighbor, most of us think of someone in close proximity, maybe a family a few doors down you can reliably borrow flour from when you're out. As the only resident of Monowi, Elier's definition of neighbor had to be revised.

    She told Country Living, "When you get out in an area like this, people 20 to 40 miles away are considered neighbors. We're like one big family. If anything happens, they're there to sympathize with you." 

    While Elier can certainly rely on her "neighbors" for some things, a cup or two of flour is probably not one of them. On the other hand, she did tell CBS Sunday Morning that "If I get that busy, somebody else gets up and gets a beer and tends the bar and I tell 'em don't worry, I can count your empties." 

  • The Burgers Are The Best And Cheapest In Town

    Photo: Janine / Flickr

    It's easy to have the best and cheapest of anything when you're the only business in town. On the other hand, you also have the worst and most expensive things too. Nevertheless, it's hard to imagine Eiler thinking that way.

    At her tavern, she serves Monowi's best burgers, which cost $2.50. The beers at the tavern are $2.00. The tavern has two Yelp reviews, both perfect five stars, that recommend her rib-eye. 

  • Mail Is Not Delivered To Monowi

    There are probably several drawbacks to being the only person in town, but perhaps one most of us wouldn't think about off the top of our heads is: who in their right mind is going to deliver your mail?

    Well, if you attempt to send mail to the near-ghost town, it will reroute to Lynch, Nebraska, a nearby municipality. Probably not great for Eiler if she's expecting an Ikea package.