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.
Elsie Eiler is the only person living in Monowi, Nebraska. That's an impressive feat on its own, but the fact that Monowi is the only municipality in the country with one person - that's an even bigger deal. It's also one of its perks, holding a record for the only person to inhabit a city or town by yourself!
This title also comes with some draws: you become a media frenzy. Eiler apparently doesn't engage with most people who contact her, but a few people are lucky enough to gain some insights on what it's like to be the only person living in a town.
Considering that she's the only person in Monowi, it's pretty insane that the town's library holds 5,000 books. But perhaps this has to do with the fact that the library has real sentimental value for Eiler. Named after her husband, Rudy, the library was constructed in 2005 soon after he passed away. It was a dream of his to have a library in Monowi, a dream that Eiler was able to grant.
"He had lots of books. He read all the time and always wanted to get 'em in one spot," she told CBS News. And despite being the only resident of Monowi, Rudy's Library is a popular destination for people who live in the areas around Monowi.
Sole resident means sole ruler. Eiler is the self-appointed mayor of Monowi, a job only she can do, considering there is nobody else to do it. Most towns this small will simply fall into the realm of unincorporated territory, but Eiler did not let that happen. Not only does she serve as the town's mayor, but she also acts as the village clerk, treasurer, and council.
Besides making sure that the only resident of Monowi - herself - pays taxes, one of the great things about being mayor is that Eiler produces a municipal road plan annually, which enables her to get state funding for Monowi's four street lights. Eiler states that Monowi's budget is around $500 a year.
There's only one business still operating in Monowi. It's probably pretty easy to guess who runs it.
Eiler is not only Monowi's only resident, she's also its only business owner. She is the owner and operator of the town's tavern, classically named Monowi Tavern, which she bought with her husband in 1971.
One would think, given her relative fame, that most of the tavern's customers would be visiting tourists, but it's actually full of locals, people who have been coming for a long time.