How this US town functions with a population of one

monowi
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In the history of the mankind, we have seen many emperors who aspired to conquer the whole world. Even today, humans the world over fight for territories and have border disputes with neighbours. While at all these, the world has a town entirely under the control of one individual who also happens to be its only resident.

As per the census of 2010, the population of the town of Monowi in Nebraska, USA was a mere one. The 86-year-old Elsie Eiler is the only person living in Monowi. Being the sole resident, she also has to don the roles of the mayor and the librarian. She applies for bar license to herself and it gets duly approved in her own name. Obviously, she is also the bartender.

Monowi is a 0.54-sqkm town nestling between the Niobrara river and the Missouri river. Eiler lives in one of the three houses here. She started living here in 2004 after the death of her husband Rudy and has since drawn the world attention for being the sole resident of a town.

Eiler's mother was from Nebraska and her father was an immigrant from Germany. She was brought up in their farmland and she did her schooling at Lynch, a town some 7 miles from Monowi. After graduating from an airline school in Kansas, she worked as a reservation officer in Austin and Dallas.

At 19, she married Rudy, her school mate. He had served in the Air Force during the Korean War. After marrying, they lived for some years in Omaha and then relocated to Monowi. There they set up a pub which is still functioning with Eiler as the proprietor and sole full-time employee. She recruits external help during rush hours. Since there is no administrative structure in Monowi, Eiler has to seek assistance from her friends in case of any special requirements. At the same time, she extends a helping hand to anyone who happens to require it while in Monowi.

Monowi was envisaged as a settlement during the construction of the Elkhorn-Missouri Railroad project. In 1930s, there were about 150 settlers here. Cattle farming was also successfully tried here for some time. The new generation left Monowi for studies, employment, and better opportunities. The population dwindled to just 18 by 1980s. Eiler's own children went away to Iowa.

Eiler has no grievances even though her children and grandchildren are not with her. She is active even in this advanced age and makes merry with her long time friends and acquaintances who meet up at her pub during holidays. She may be alone but loneliness has no place in Eiler's life.

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