Monowi, Nebraska

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Monowi, Nebraska
Population sign that can be seen on entering Monowi from the east (2007)
Population sign that can be seen
on entering Monowi from the east (2007)
Location within Boyd County
Location within Boyd County
Detailed map of Monowi, Nebraska
Detailed map of Monowi, Nebraska
Monowi is located in Nebraska
Location within Nebraska
Monowi is located in the United States
Location within the United States
Coordinates: 42°49′44″N 98°19′45″W / 42.82889°N 98.32917°W / 42.82889; -98.32917Coordinates: 42°49′44″N 98°19′45″W / 42.82889°N 98.32917°W / 42.82889; -98.32917
CountryFlag of the United States.svg United States
StateFlag of Nebraska.svg Nebraska
 • Mayor (de facto)Elsie M. Eiler (R)[1][a]
 • Total0.21 sq mi (0.55 km2)
 • Land0.21 sq mi (0.55 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
1,329 ft (405 m)
 • Total2
 • Density9.43/sq mi (3.65/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
68746 (shared with Lynch)
Area code402
FIPS code31-32550[4]
GNIS feature ID0831379[5]

Monowi (/ˈmɒnw/ MON-oh-wy) is an incorporated village in Boyd County, Nebraska, United States. It garnered national and international[6] recognition after the 2010 United States census counted only one resident of the village, Elsie Eiler.[7] Though the 2020 census listed Monowi's population as two,[8] this was confirmed to be an example of differential privacy in the census data; Eiler remains the town's sole resident.[9]

According to tradition, the name Monowi means "flower" in an unidentified Native American language.[10][11] Monowi was so named after the many wildflowers growing at the original site of the village.[12]


Rudy's Library
Screenshot of voter registration
Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[13]

Monowi's was platted in 1903, when the Mason, Elkhorn and Missouri Valley Railroad was extended to that point.[14] A post office was established in Monowi in 1902 and remained in operation until 1967.[15]

Monowi's peak years were in the 1930s, when it had a population of 150.[16][17] Like many other small communities in the Great Plains, it lost its younger residents to cities that were experiencing growth and offering better jobs. [18]

During the 2000 census, the village had a total population of two; only one married couple, Rudy and Elsie Eiler, lived there.[16] Rudy died in 2004, leaving his wife as the only resident in the village.[18] In this capacity, she acts as mayor, and granted herself a liquor license. She is required to produce a municipal road plan every year in order to secure state funding for the village's four street lights.[19][18]

Although the village is nearly abandoned, it does have a bar called the Monowi Tavern, operated by Eiler for passing travelers and tourists. In addition, Eiler maintains the five-thousand–volume Rudy's Library, founded in memory of her late husband.[16][18]

In 2018, the village was featured in commercials for Arby's and Prudential.[18][20] The village was also used as a starting place for the biggest advertisement poster in the world, which was finished on June 13, 2018.[21]

Census data[edit]

After the 1990 United States census, Eiler had observed that Monowi's population had been miscounted,[how?] and contacted radio broadcaster Paul Harvey to publicize the error.[22] Years later, preliminary information from the 2020 census appeared to show that Monowi's population increased to two. However, Eiler denied that anyone had moved into the town, and a spokesperson for the United States Census Bureau said that the alleged second resident was actually a form of "noise... add[ed] to the [census] data," in which some individuals are listed in a bordering tract to protect the anonymity of census respondents.[9]

Panorama of Monowi Tavern
Monowi Tavern, 2013


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 0.21 square miles (0.54 km2), all land.[23] The village is located in the far eastern portion of Boyd County, in the northeastern region of Nebraska. It is located between the Niobrara River and the larger Missouri River.[24] The nearest community to Monowi is Lynch, located approximately 6.92 miles (11.14 km) away.[25][26] The village is located approximately 193.97 miles (312.16 km) from Omaha.[25][27]


Census data for Monowi highlights its uniqueness, owing to the numerical singularity of its population. As of 2010:[28]

  • The total population was one (87.5 years old, female, white, named Elsie).
  • She was the one householder, living alone.
  • Of the three housing units in Monowi, only hers was occupied.


The area is within Boyd County Public Schools.[29] The area was previously within the Lynch Public Schools district in Lynch.[30] The Lynch district consolidated into the Boyd County district in June 2017.[31]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Since she is the only resident of Monowi, Eiler is the de facto mayor.[2]


  1. ^ "Nebraska Voter Information Lookup". Retrieved March 25, 2022.
  2. ^ Salter, Peter (August 23, 2021). "Monowi, Nebraska, is still a one-person town, despite what 2020 Census says". Lincoln Journal Star. Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved March 25, 2022.
  3. ^ "ArcGIS REST Services Directory". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 18, 2022.
  4. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  5. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  6. ^ "Welcome to Monowi, Nebraska: population 1". BBC. May 2, 2020. Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  7. ^ Carter, Maria (March 31, 2017). "This 83-Year-Old Woman Is the Mayor, Bartender, Librarian and Sole Resident of Monowi, NE". Country Living. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Monowi village, Nebraska". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  9. ^ a b "Second resident of Nebraska's one-person town just a figment of Census Bureau's imagination". Lincoln Journal-Star. August 22, 2021. Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  10. ^ Bright, William (2004). Native American Placenames of the United States. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 296. ISBN 978-0-8061-3598-4.
  11. ^ Chicago and North Western Railway Company (1908). A History of the Origin of the Place Names Connected with the Chicago & North Western and Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railways. p. 104.
  12. ^ Fitzpatrick, Lillian L. (1960). Nebraska Place-Names. University of Nebraska Press. p. 22. ISBN 0803250606.
  13. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 23, 2013.
  14. ^ "Monowi , Boyd County". Center for Advanced Land Management Information Technologies. University of Nebraska. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  15. ^ "Boyd County". Jim Forte Postal History. Retrieved March 23, 2015.
  16. ^ a b c "Monowi, Nebraska, America's smallest town is run by its single citizen/mayor/librarian/bartender". Atlas Obscura. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  17. ^ Macuha, Marhgil (May 6, 2011). "Elsie Eiler, The Lone Resident of Monowi Town in Nebraska". Batangas Today.
  18. ^ a b c d e Schukar, Text by Alyssa (June 24, 2022). "The Last Resident of Monowi". The New York Times. Retrieved June 27, 2022.
  19. ^ Reid, Tim (February 19, 2005). "Introducing the mayor of Monowi: (population: 1)". The Times. Retrieved July 7, 2011.(subscription required)
  20. ^ "The State of the US | -- America's Smallest Town Monowi, NE", Prudential Financial, September 16, 2018, retrieved February 10, 2019
  21. ^ "Largest Advertising Poster", Guinness World Records, June 13, 2018, retrieved June 15, 2019
  22. ^ Jenkins, Nate (March 6, 2010). "Tiny Towns Tell Census: Get it Right". Seattle Times.
  23. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on January 12, 2012. Retrieved June 24, 2012.
  24. ^ The Road Atlas (Map) (2009 ed.). 1 inch:23 miles. Cartography by Rand McNally. Rand McNally. 2009. p. 63. § E13-E14.
  25. ^ a b Michels, Chris (1997). "Latitude/Longitude Distance Calculation". Northern Arizona University. Archived from the original on April 11, 2008. Retrieved October 11, 2012.
  26. ^ U.S. Board on Geographic Names (March 9, 1979). "Feature Detail Report for: Lynch". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved October 11, 2012.
  27. ^ U.S. Board on Geographic Names (March 9, 1979). "Feature Detail Report for: Omaha". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved October 11, 2012.
  28. ^ "2010 Demographic Profile Data – Monowi village, Nebraska". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 8, 2018.
  29. ^ "2020 CENSUS - SCHOOL DISTRICT REFERENCE MAP: Boyd County, NE" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved April 17, 2021.
  30. ^ "SCHOOL DISTRICT REFERENCE MAP (2010 CENSUS): Boyd County, NE" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved April 17, 2021.
  31. ^ "Boyd County Schools". Nebraska Department of Education. Retrieved April 17, 2021.

External links[edit]