America comes under a lot of criticism from time to time. It has some strange and extreme characters that can cause the international world to look at it with a disapproving glance every so often. Yet it is also the strange and wonderful characters that give America its charm. Whether it is the free thinkers on the East Coast or the strange performers on the New York subway. There are plenty of individuals that make up the American culture. However, there is only one person who could truly be described as an individual and that is Elsie Eiler. Read on to find out more about Elsie.
Elsie in many ways is a woman like many others. She is 86 years old and a widower. She is a successful businesswoman and a member of her local government. She is active in her community and takes great pride in it. The strange thing about Elsie is that she is the community.
In her hometown of Monowi, Nebraska there is a population of one. Just one. Just Elsie Eiler. Monowi is a small town (clearly) hidden in the mountains of Nebraska. While the population used to be bigger today it is just a number of abandoned buildings and Elsie’s place. She is the self-appointed mayor of the town and conducts all the town planning every year. She pays herself taxes and granted herself a liquor license. A busy woman.
There are only two real businesses in Monowi. The library which Elsie opened in memory of her late husband and the bar where Elsie is the owner and bartender. Elsie reached national fame in 2005 and 2006 when some of the late-night chat shows heard about her strange situation. They featured her on the show and even raised money for the small town.
If you look at a population chart of Monowi it tells more of a story than many other towns. From 1990 to 1998 the population was 6. From 1998 to 1999 it was 5. From 2000 to 2009 it was 2 and sadly from 2010 it has been just 1. The final change was the passing of Elsie’s husband. Each of these changes tells the story of a person passing away or moving away. Each a story that Elsie likely holds dearly as they were no doubt her closest friends.
If you ever find yourself in Nebraska and are looking for something to do, we encourage you to head for Monowi and have a few cold beers and a few conversations with Elsie Eiler the only living soul in Monowi, Nebraska.