The desolate town is marked by an abandoned church, weeds mushrooming up in vacant houses which are on the verge of collapse and a white building with its paint peeling off from the frameThe ghost town’s only inhabitant is 84-year-old Elsie Eiler who runs a tavern. She’s also the mayor of the town as there’s no competition though that doesn’t stop her from hanging up a notice outside her bar calling for mayoral elections year after year.
Eiler has her work completely cut out while going through her daily chores as she’s also the only clerk, treasurer, librarian and bartender of US’ tinniest town. As per US Census data, Monowi is the only place in the US with just one resident.
When Eiler’s husband Rudy passed away in 2004, he not only left the tavern but the entire town for her to run.
A sign at her tavern reads: “Welcome To The World Famous Monowi Tavern. Coldest Beer In Town!” under which a few regulars are seen enjoying cold beer.
Leading a truly singular life in every sense of the word, she produces a municipal road plan every year to secure state funding, and then raises $500 of taxes out of her own pocket to keep the three lampposts of the town lighted up and the water supply running.
“When I apply to the state for my liquor and tobacco licences each year, they send them to the secretary of the village, which is me. So, I get them as the secretary, sign them as the clerk and give them to myself as the bar owner,” Eiler explains.
She even keeps a track of the vacant homes in the town, in case someone decides to settle in one of the decaying dwellings and double the town’s population.
Elsie Eiler is the only inhabitant of Monowi as everybody else either passed away or moved away. But she has no regrets living in the town as its only inhabitant. It’s been 14 years now that she has been living alone in Monowi. Although she has a daughter and son, they don’t live with her. Her children have probably reconciled with the fact that their mother doesn’t desire to live anywhere else.