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Woman, 88, is the only resident of America's smallest town

Woman, 88, is the only resident of America's smallest town

Mayor, bartender, and librarian - the octogenarian is a real Jack of all trades as the town's sole citizen

If you're a fan of spending time alone, you might just feel envious of this 88-year-old woman, who's the sole resident of America's smallest town.

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Monowi is the only incorporated town, village, or city in America with a population of one - making Elsie Eiler one of a kind in more ways than one.

Around 200 miles from Omaha, it was previously a bustling railroad town during the 1930s, with around 120 residents and several thriving businesses including a grocery store, restaurant and even a prison.

But as urbanization took hold, with people moving away from heavy-duty farm labor, being replaced by new technologies and looking for new opportunities in the big smoke, those who stayed died off one-by-one.

Then, sadly in 2004, Elsie's beloved husband, Rudy, also passed away meaning she was left as the town's last remaining resident.

She told Top30 TV: "I'm the only one who lives here in town. Everyone else has either moved away or passed away and this is where I chose to stay."

But don't feel too bad for the strong-willed 88-year-old, as she certainly likes to keep herself busy working as tavern owner, mayor, treasurer, clerk, secretary and librarian - though she makes sure to rest on Mondays.

With the Monowi Tavern throwing open its doors at 9 am six days a week, serving burgers, hot dogs and the 'coldest beer in town', she's never short on visiting tourists - from over 47 states and more than 40 counties - or regulars from nearby towns who need a bite to eat or a cold beverage.

Elsie Eiler is the only resident of Monowi, Nebraska.
Wikimedia Commons

In 2021, Elsie told Eater: "Very seldom I spend much time in here by myself.

"Even now, there's always somebody coming or going. [The pandemic] didn't much affect me. It wasn't no big lockup or anything like that. It's stayed real busy and the locals are all very supportive."

In fact, local support for Monowi Tavern was so strong that it survived the pandemic while other small businesses struggled.

When Elsie celebrated her 50th year in charge of the business in 2021, regulars from nearby towns, friends and family came together to celebrate her and the watering hole where they love to gather as a community of sorts - playing cards and getting nostalgic about the town's history.

The 88-year-old works as the town's tavern owner, mayor, treasurer, clerk, secretary and librarian.
Wikimedia Commons

Elsie is determined not to allow Monowi to go the same way as other small and dissolving US communities and keep it incorporated - completing the paperwork herself to make that happen and elect herself mayor.

She also collects her own $500 in taxes to keep the town's three lampposts supplied with electricity and lit and the water flowing from her taps and toilet.

Creating a municipal road plan annually allows her to secure funding from the state of Nebraska.

And her liquor and tobacco licenses? She self-signs as town secretary and gives them to herself as barkeep.

It hasn't always been easy for Elsie as in 2020 there was confusion when the U.S. Census Bureau reported a second resident of Monowi.

Turns out it was a resident of a town further afield in Nebraska that the bureau added to the village as a privacy measure for Elsie and the population hadn't doubled after all.

When asked by Nebraska Public Media if she'd ever consider to move, Elsie said: "Each year I just renew my license and stay again.

"I mean, basically…I'm happy here. This is where I really - I want to be here, or I wouldn't stay here."

Featured Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Topics: Travel, US News, Weird