I've said in past posts about small towns that while I love small towns, I wouldn't be able to live in one. I especially wouldn't be able to be the sole resident of a town! But that's what's going on in the smallest town in the US. It's here in the midwest, a little town called Monowi, Nebraska.

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Google Maps

Smallest Town in the USA

Monowi, Nebraska is in the northeast portion of the state. It was established in 1902 and during its peak time, in the 1930s, there were 150 people that lived there, according to the Wikipedia page. Later, the younger people decided to move on to bigger cities that were developing and eventually, there were two people left. A married couple named Rudy and Elsie.

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Rudy and Elsie were the sole residents in Monowi until 2004 when, sadly, Rudy passed away. That made Elsie the only resident of her small town. And it's been that way ever since!

Elsie Eiler

Elsie has been the sole resident for 19 years now and based on interviews I've read with her she seems to enjoy herself. She told the New York Times, "'This is my home. All my friends are around. Why would I want to leave?'"

Brett Mayerson, KTIV - Interview with Elsie Eiler
Brett Mayerson, KTIV - Interview with Elsie Eiler

Yes, even though there are no other residents in Monowi there are others in surrounding towns who come to visit with Elsie. After all, Elsie runs the bar and restaurant in town called the Monowi Tavern. She runs it, is the cook, the server, and the bartender.

Elsie is also the town's mayor, the tax collector, the librarian. Anything that runs in the town of Monowi is run by Elsie.

Elsie is now 89 and, as she's mentioned to the New York Times, has talked about retirement but I don't know that she'll ever retire. It seems to me like she'll keep running her town until she's not able to anymore. Good for her, I really enjoy her love for her little town.


Our listeners chimed in with their favorite small-town restaurants and even told us what to order when we visit. Below you'll see 60 great restaurants that you should try as you travel around southeast Minnesota.

Notice something that needs to be updated? Email me.

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