Last Days in Monowi, Nebraska: Population 1

Last Days in Monowi, Nebraska: Population 1

Monowi, Nebraska is a near-ghost town in Boyd County, Nebraska, about 75 miles northwest of Norfolk.

GhostsofNorthAmerica.com

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.

Monowi, Nebraska

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.

GhostsofNorthAmerica.com

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.

Monowi, Nebraska

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.

Monowi, Nebraska

monowi8

Someone is storing old tires and beekeeping stuff in the church.

Monowi, Nebraska

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.

Monowi, Nebraska

Monowi, Nebraska

There are quite a number of old structures, former businesses and homes, in Monowi.

Monowi, Nebraska

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.

Monowi, Nebraska

Monowi, Nebraska

Above: one of Monowi’s grain elevators. There was another one, but it’s long gone.

Monowi, Nebraska

Monowi, Nebraska

Monowi, Nebraska

Monowi, Nebraska

Barring a miraculous boom of a type we can’t foresee, these are the last days of Monowi, Nebraska.

Monowi, Nebraska

Monowi, Nebraska

Monowi, Nebraska

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC





5 thoughts on “Last Days in Monowi, Nebraska: Population 1

  1. love the pics, the bar is a really good place to eat if you ever get the chance, I grew up not far from there and remember driving through alot

  2. The bar is a great place to eat. I remember being there a lot as a kid and it was a busy place sometimes. I think I remember my uncles band playing there occasionally on Saturday night.

  3. The food is awesome at the bar and the service is very personal. Just don’t ask Elsie, “how big are the cheeseballs?”
    She will answer you quickly!! heheee. We go there with our group twice a year as tradition and never leave hungry or without having a few share laughs.

  4. Will always remember my visit to Monowi in 1973 when I was 12 years old. Never forgot the town, or the Tavern. I collected old bottles and other relics, and the owner of the Tavern was kind enough to give me a few souvenirs which I still have, including a wooden case of old green and blue soda bottles from Spencer, some crock jugs, and a handful of single-sided 78rpm records. Most of these were stashed away along with a bunch of other old stuff, in an ancient wooden building that, I believe, had housed a store and post office at one time.

    Would love to visit the place again and have a beer at the Tavern!

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