Population sign that can be seen
on entering Monowi from the east
Location within Boyd County
Detailed map of Monowi, Nebraska
|o Mayor||Elsie M. Eiler (R)|
|o Total||0.21 sq mi (0.55 km2)|
|o Land||0.21 sq mi (0.55 km2)|
|o Water||0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)|
|Elevation||1,329 ft (405 m)|
| o Estimate |
|o Density||4.72/sq mi (1.82/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (Central (CST))|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||0831379|
Monowi ( MON-oh-wy) is an incorporated village in Boyd County, Nebraska, United States. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of one. It is the only incorporated municipality in the United States with such a population. The sole resident, Elsie Eiler, is the mayor as well as librarian and bartender, and has thus been the subject of various human interest stories.
According to tradition, the name Monowi means "flower" in an unidentified Native American language. Monowi was so named after the many wildflowers growing at the original site of the village.
Monowi was platted in 1902, when the Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri Valley Railroad was extended to that point. A post office was established in Monowi in 1902 and remained in operation until 1967.
Monowi's peak years were in the 1930s, when it had a population of 150. 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. 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.
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.
According to the US Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 0.21 square miles (0.54 km2), all land. 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. The nearest community to Monowi is Lynch, located approximately 6.92 miles (11.14 km) away. The village is located approximately 193.97 miles (312.16 km) from Omaha.
Elsie and the village have been featured on a number of shows, including Today (May 31, 2005), CBS Sunday Morning (October 29, 2006, and August 12, 2007), Great Big Story, and The Travel Show (March 17, 2018). It was also featured on Only in America with Larry the Cable Guy (April 12 and May 7, 2011), where over a thousand people visited Monowi to raise money for the village.
The village has also been featured in television commercials by Arby's (first aired June 19, 2018) and Prudential (first aired September 16, 2018). The village was also used as a starting place for the biggest advertisement poster in the world, which was finished on June 13, 2018.