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
Population sign that can be seen
on entering Monowi from the east
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
Country Flag of the United States.svg United States
StateFlag of Nebraska.svg Nebraska
 • MayorElsie M. Eiler (R)[1]
 • 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)
 • Total1
 • Estimate 
 • Density4.72/sq mi (1.82/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)402
FIPS code31-32550[5]
GNIS feature ID0831379[6]

Monowi (/ˈmɒnw/ MON-oh-wy) is an incorporated village in Boyd County, Nebraska, United States. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 1. It is the only incorporated municipality in the United States with such a population.[7][8] The sole resident is the mayor as well as librarian and bartender.[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
Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 20171[4]0.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[13]
2012 Estimate[14]

Monowi was platted in 1902, when the Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri Valley Railroad was extended to that point.[15] A post office was established in Monowi in 1902 and remained in operation until 1967.[16]

Monowi's peak years were in the 1930s, when it had a population of 150.[17][18] Like many other small communities in the Great Plains, it lost its younger residents to cities that were experiencing growth and offering better jobs. During the 2000 census, the village had a total population of two; only one married couple, Rudy and Elsie Eiler, lived there.[17] Rudy died in 2004, leaving his wife as the only remaining resident. In this capacity, she acts as mayor, granting herself a liquor license and paying taxes to herself. 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]

Although the village is almost abandoned, it does have a bar called the Monowi Tavern, operated by Eiler for passing trade.[clarification needed] In addition, Eiler maintains the five-thousand–volume Rudy's Library, founded in memory of her late husband.[17]

Panorama of Monowi Tavern
Monowi Tavern, 2013


According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 0.21 square miles (0.54 km2), all land.[20] 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.[21] The nearest community to Monowi is Lynch, located approximately 6.92 miles (11.14 km) away.[22][23] The village is located approximately 193.97 miles (312.16 km) from Omaha.[22][24]


Census data for Monowi highlight its uniqueness. As of 2010:[3]

  • The total population was one (76.5 years old, female, white).
  • There was one householder, living alone.
  • Of the three housing units in Monowi, only one was occupied.


The area is within the Lynch Public Schools district in Lynch.[25]

In popular culture[edit]

  • Elsie and Rudy's Library was shown on the Today show on May 31, 2005.
  • Elsie and the Monowi Tavern were featured on CBS Sunday Morning on October 29, 2006, and again on August 12, 2007.
  • Elsie, the village, the tavern, and library were featured on an episode of Only in America with Larry the Cable Guy, where Larry announced on a radio show that he was having a hotdog roast that very day to help raise money for Elsie's village. Within an hour people began to arrive and over a thousand people showed up for the roast to help Elsie. It aired April 12 and May 7, 2011, on The History Channel.
  • Elsie and the village are featured in a short story about tiny cities on the online video site, Great Big Story.[26]
  • The village of Monowi, and its sole surviving resident Elsie Eiler, were featured on the BBC's The Travel Show in the United Kingdom on March 17, 2018.[27]
  • The village was used as a starting place for the biggest advertisement poster in the world, which was made by Arby’s and was finished on June 13, 2018 [28]
  • Elsie and the village of Monowi featured in an Arby's commercial, which first aired on June 19, 2018.[29]
  • Elsie and the village of Monowi featured in a Prudential commercial, called "The STATE of the US" -- "America's SMALLEST TOWN Monowi, NE". It first aired on September 16, 2018.[30] In the opening shots, Wellness Expert, Alexandra Drane (who has no affiliation with the town) states "Welcome to Monowi, NE... Population, 1" while standing in front of two of the town's small buildings, one with a sign stating "Monowi Home of the Nite Owls" and the other with a sign stating "Welcome to the World Famous Monowi Tavern Only in America". Elsie Eiler (who is never identified by name in the commercial), replies, "Me" and continues with additional dialog by her and the narrator (possibly Alexandra Drane).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Registrant Search Information for Elsie M Eiler". Nebraska Secretary of State. Retrieved May 12, 2019.
  2. ^ "2017 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 12, 2019.
  3. ^ a b "2010 Demographic Profile Data – Monowi village, Nebraska". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 8, 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  5. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  6. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  7. ^ US Census Bureau. "American FactFinder". Retrieved April 13, 2011.
  8. ^ Reuters, Monowi, Nebraska, Population: 1.
  9. ^ 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.
  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.
  13. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 23, 2013.
  14. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Archived from the original on November 20, 2013. Retrieved June 23, 2013.
  15. ^ "Monowi , Boyd County". Center for Advanced Land Management Information Technologies. University of Nebraska. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  16. ^ "Boyd County". Jim Forte Postal History. Retrieved March 23, 2015.
  17. ^ a b c "Monowi, Nebraska, America's smallest town is run by its single citizen/mayor/librarian/bartender". Atlas Obscura. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  18. ^ Macuha, Marhgil (May 6, 2011). "Elsie Eiler, The Lone Resident of Monowi Town in Nebraska". Batangas Today.
  19. ^ Reid, Tim (February 19, 2005). "Introducing the mayor of Monowi: (population: 1)". The Times. Retrieved July 7, 2011.(subscription required)
  20. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on January 12, 2012. Retrieved June 24, 2012.
  21. ^ The Road Atlas (Map) (2009 ed.). 1 inch:23 miles. Cartography by Rand McNally. Rand McNally. 2009. p. 63. § E13-E14.
  22. ^ a b Michels, Chris (1997). "Latitude/Longitude Distance Calculation". Northern Arizona University. Retrieved October 11, 2012.
  23. ^ 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.
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ "Schools in Lynch Public Schools." SchoolDigger. Retrieved on July 21, 2011. See map.
  26. ^ "Living in a Town of Two". Great Big Story. Retrieved June 20, 2017.
  27. ^ "BBC News: The Travel Show". BBC. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  28. ^ "Largest Advertising Poster", Guinness World Records, June 13, 2018, retrieved June 15, 2019
  29. ^ "Arby's: Big Announcement | Arby's Now Has Coke", Arby's, June 19, 2018, retrieved June 20, 2018
  30. ^ "The State of the US | -- America's Amllest Town Monwi, NE", Prudential, September 16, 2018, retrieved February 10, 2019

External links[edit]