Meet The Woman Who Is Mayor, Librarian And Custodian Of An Entire Town

Feb 21, 2015

Nebraska is a state of many, many small towns. But one town, called Monowi, holds the record. 


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Monowi only has one resident and it's the only officially incorporated municipality in the US with a population of just one person.


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The one woman of Monowi is Elsie Eiler. She balances her career between being the mayor of Monowi, the owner of the town's one bar and the librarian of the Monowi's library. She pays taxes to herself and produces a municipal road plan each year to secure state funding for Monowi's four street lights.


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At less than half a square mile, Monowi barely qualifies as a hamlet. But back in 1902, Monowi was a full small town, founded when the Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri Valley Railroad was extended.


Andrew Filer


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In the 1930s, Monowi reached its booming peak of 150 residents but, as is the case with many Great Plains small towns, the increase of mobility lured its younger generations toward neighboring larger cities in search of better work.


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Elsie keeps the library functioning with an impressive 5,000 books available for loan. The library also serves as a makeshift Monowi historical society. Elsie named the library after her husband who passed away in 2004, leaving her the sole resident.


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But it's her tavern that keeps Elsie company with regular customers coming in from as far as 80 miles away.


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Monowi, Nebraska, is located about two hours west from its nearest city, Sioux City, Iowa, on the Outlaw Trail Scenic Byway. Not heading that way? You can take a tour on Google Street View


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Credit: Messy Nessy Chic

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