Monowi, Nebraska is a near-ghost town in Boyd County, Nebraska, about 75 miles northwest of Norfolk.
We first discovered Monowi when I ran across a story from 2011 about Monowi’s status as the smallest incorporated city in the nation with a population of only one. Reuters photographer Rick Wilking wrote a nice piece on that one resident, Elsie Eiler.
We were in Monowi quite early in the morning, so we did not feel comfortable knocking on anybody’s door, but we’re told the bar/cafe is open at 9am every day.
In the course of assembling our book, Churches of the High Plains, we wrote to Monowi’s sole citizen, Elsie Eiler, and she told us the last funeral service held in this church was for her father, Michael Peklapp, on March 7th, 1960.
A heavy rainstorm the night before we visited in August of 2014 softened the road to this church considerably and our car left with a couple inches of mud caked in the wheel-wells. Watch the video from our trip to Monowi.
Someone is storing old tires and beekeeping stuff in the church.
If you attempt to send correspondence addressed to Monowi, the computer will spit out an address for nearby Lynch, Nebraska. In a world of barcodes and auto-sorting, Monowi, Nebraska is an anomaly.
There are quite a number of old structures, former businesses and homes, in Monowi.
Terry wondered aloud after shooting a few places whether someone else may have moved in to Monowi recently, as there appeared to be a second occupied property (not shown), but we can’t be sure.
Above: one of Monowi’s grain elevators. There was another one, but it’s long gone.
Barring a miraculous boom of a type we can’t foresee, these are the last days of Monowi, Nebraska.
Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC